Croydon-based Frauds have made some waves this year, sharing a stage with such revered acts as Jamie Lenman and Slaves. Their debut, ‘With Morning Toast & Jam & Juice’ combines good old-fashioned punk with touches of blues-rock, noise-rock and sludge metal.
The sludge factor comes mainly from their guitar work – slow, repetitive riffing is a staple throughout ’…Morning Toast…’, most notably on ‘Let’s Find Out’ and the self-explanatory ‘Doom’. This is paired with a playful atmosphere, heavily distorted guitar tone and bare-bones set-up give us the basic Frauds dynamic. It makes for an innovative sound, with the relative lightness of the band’s songwriting complimenting the heaviness of their instrumentation.
Unexpectedly, Frauds’ other main strength is their vocal work. Despite mostly sticking to the rough-around-the-edges, half-shouted style used in most music of this ilk, both members clearly have a technical aptitude for melodic singing. This is demonstrated in their harmonising on ‘Smooth’, accomplished without the track losing any of its malice. They also have some fun with faux-theatrical vocals on ‘Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve’.
Certain tracks deviate from their established lo-fi sludge sound, such as ‘Feeding Frenzy’, which features a sparse arrangement that successfully relays a dark, gloomy atmosphere with very little instrumentation. On the other end of the spectrum is ‘Sandwiches’, an obvious choice for a single thanks to sounding bigger, bouncier and catchier than most of ’…Morning Toast…’. It’s still a tremendously fun track, though, and the lyric “your face looks like jam and butter mixed together” uttered during the song’s bridge is simultaneously frightening and hilarious.
Frauds have created somewhat of a winning formula on ‘With Morning Toast & Jam & Juice’, and demonstrate their raw talent throughout the album. Despite this, the band don’t quite reach their full potential, and their sound can be a bit grating and samey at times. All things considered, though, this makes for a fun and interesting listen and points towards great things in Frauds’ future.
‘With Morning Toast & Jam & Juice’ by Frauds is out now on Til Deaf Do Us Party Records.
Words by Alan Cunningham (@funeral_polis)