"What the hell?" This question and others containing even juicier profanities may pop out of folks who spin The Folded Palm, a new disc by Vancouver's Frog Eyes -- but odds are good that the adventurous listeners among them will be expressing delight, not distress. Musically, bandmates Carey Mercer, Grayson Walker, Melanie Campbell and Michael Rak -- who share the stage with Uphollow and Landlord Land at this date -- toss out dense, jagged, frequently atonal noises of the sort that have defined the fringes of the sonic avant-garde for a generation or two. The vocals unleashed by Mercer betray similar influences, yet the sheer, glorious lunacy of his presentation infuses the tunes with just the right amount of danger. In "Ship Destroyer," for example, he delivers the opening verses in hyper-agitated yelps interspersed with breathy asides before erupting into a bizarre falsetto that makes him sound like a chicken on angel dust. Such flights of freakiness don't always land safely, but Mercer's fondness for risk makes even his failures seem exciting. As Palm proves, Frog Eyes are open for anything.
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