Glacial synthpop perfection
With the release of new album Matters, Brighton-based outfit Fröst have reached a particular milestone on their continuing musical journey into transcendental pop.
Consisting of French-Swedish sound artist Johanna Bramli (vocalist for Stereolab offshoot Imitation Electric Piano) and Fujiya & Miyagi’s synth player and producer Steve Lewis, Fröst have been on the radar since 2016 with the release of first single ‘Crackling on the Wire’. With its combination of stark percussion and ethereal vocals, this debut release was also a track that radiated style as well as an urgent, raw energy. Fröst also made an impact critically at the time, picking up coverage from the likes of Virgin Radio. Annie Mac, The Line of Best Fit and BBC 6 Music.
The component parts of Fröst provide a worthy pedigree to kick off with, but the arrival off their debut album Matters opens up more scope for the pair to explore this intriguing alchemy. Threaded throughout the record is a variety of broad influences, including Silver Apples, Gazelle Twin, Fever Ray and Laurie Anderson. Resident Advisor summed up Fröst fairly succinctly: “Like Broadcast fronting motorik band Neu!”, which isn’t a bad way to get a handle on where Fröst are coming from (the duo have also compiled a handy Spotify list).
‘Record Still Spinning’, which opens the album, has a breathy, alluring quality to it. Its insistent motorik beats give the track an earthy foundation, while Johanna Bramli’s vocals have a siren-like draw to them.
Matters features a collection of tracks that offer an easy transition between French and English lyrics, evidenced by the gentle pop of ‘Éternelle’. That Gallic charm continues on tracks such as ‘La Vénus d’Argent’ with its bossanova beats and stripped-down vocal delivery.
Meanwhile, ‘Keratin’ (which had been one of Fröst’s early single releases) has an engaging pop quality that seems reminiscent of the likes of Au Revoir Simone or Pixx. There’s some lush synth work here on a number that has a very tight arrangement under the deft hand of Steve Lewis.
The album slips into more glitchy territory for ‘Delta Antenna’ with its murky synthetic soundscapes and insistent beats. But Matters also throws out contrasting compositions, such as the glacial pop of ‘Black Mountain’ which has hints of early Goldfrapp.
The fractured electronic collage of ‘Materials’ (also the longest track on the album) presents a kaleidoscope of musical elements. Bramli’s whispery voice floats through this elaborate fugue with hypnotising elegance.
‘Trail Away’, the closing track on Matters, delivers a warm, evocative slice of synth delights. It’s a fine composition to close proceedings with.
As an album, Matters presents sumptuous glacial electropop that oozes elegance and style, with a touch of the Düsseldorf school for good measure. If you’ve not had the luck to stumble on Fröst previously, this album provides the perfect introduction.
Matters is out today on Lost Room Records.
Fröst also have live dates scheduled: 2nd October – Sebright Arms, London, 3rd October – The Prince Albert, Brighton, 6th October – Dials Festival, Portsmouth, 13th October – Shake the High Road Festival, London
Publications that have featured his contributions include Electronic Sound, Metro, Japan Update Weekly, J-Pop Go, Wavegirl and OMD Messages.