Do you have a silverchair story? I do… don’t worry it’ll all be relevant to this review… so in 1994 I was going to school in St Kilda, one of the guys tells us to come to The Espy on Friday as ‘there are these kids that are unbelievable, they’re going to be huge…’ we look at him like ‘ok…’ and didn’t go. Three months later ‘Tomorrow’ was released and that band of kids was silverchair in one of their last shows before they got signed and then plain and simply blew up the airwaves. Should’ve listened to Steve and gone…
So of course twenty years ago I owned Frogstomp, I mean who didn’t? It was one of those albums that came as grunge was still grungy and this band of innocent criminals wanted to take over the world… I haven’t listened to the album in full for a while, so here I am about to see if it still stands up, see if these songs still pack a punch, albeit a remastered punch with some bonuses thrown in for good measure.
As the opening balls out riff on ‘Isreal’s Son’ begins, the memories come flying back, I mean this was heavy back then… and I wish that the band were still together making this kind of music, but it was always a great opener and no exception to this day. What I always loved about ‘Tomorrow’ is that it wasn’t perfect, you could hear the layers of vocals, you could hear every part of the mix (this is my picky audio engineering degree coming out) but be it far from sloppy, this song is fucking killer. The remastered version hears the vocals much stronger out front and hearing how Daniel Johns could sing back then was just unbelievable. No wonder this song took them all over the world, it was just awesome enough to work, and it did. Other downfall of picking this one up again tonight is this song will now be stuck in my head for the next week… or maybe just until tomorrow… oh man, that’s a bad gag even for me…
‘Faultline’ always felt like an album track for me, but I actually forgot that it kicks into gear three minutes or so into it, big rocker and I imagine this one live would’ve been quite the favourite, and when I say favourite up next we have ‘Pure Massacre’ which for mine was and still is my favourite song from ‘Frogstomp’ and it still stands up, in fact, why hasn’t a band covered this somewhere? That’s a good question, hey bands, cover this one live, especially here in Australia where it would go down swimmingly. The mix sounds great on this one, as it does for the slower ‘Shade’ and Johns again with that maturity in his voice even back then is astounding. Ahhh I forgot how chunky the riff in ‘Leave Me Out’ is but was always confused with the guitar solo with no rhythm behind it and still am as it’s a very interesting arrangement. It’s not the strongest song, but it’s part of the glue that holds this classic work together much like ‘Suicidal Dream’ but oh man, I forgot about the instrumental madness of ‘Madman’ now that was cool to hear all over again.
Oh man, reverb to the max on the drums for ‘Undecided’ as the buzz plays on, and I have to credit the tone and distortion on the sound of this band, I always liked the way the three instruments were recorded and when remastered they do stand out and sound like they’re supposed to. This one is close to the most 90’s sounding track though, but I dig it, not as much as ‘Cicada’ though, as it has shades of ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ written all over it and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. What’s funny is that this one is the closest to a song structure from now that would stand up in today’s rock world, and it’s still a damn good song, it’s a winner. With only the last track to go, we close the album twenty years later with ‘Findaway’ and it’s fast punk like rocker with its pinging snare, its frantic groove and for 1995 this was the perfect way to close what was a solid album that went on to sell a whole bunch… yeah something like four million… not too shabby for three kids from Newcastle…
So, do what I did, relive your youth (well I was 19 when it came out) but pick of this 20th anniversary release of ‘Frogstomp’ and go back and remember what you were doing when it came out… now, next step, let’s all rally and try and make the band get back together… even for a string of 20th anniversary shows? Guys? Anyone? No? Come on… let me have my Espy moment 20 years later…?
You can WIN a copy of the album HERE
From: Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Release date: 27 March 1995 and now 27 March 2015
Record label: Sony Music Australia
Leave Me Out