Carey Mercer writes songs the way bugs collide with windscreens - a haphazard, inadvertently graceful warp-speed trajectory towards a smudgy explosion of guts and brains. He's an awkward singer, savouring noises and syllables like a sound poet; he often bleats his favourites (like the messy punctuation of "birch-birch-birch" on penultimate track Bushels here) till they surrender under repetition and become disconnected from the sentences and stories they originally told. And though Mercer is as nerdily wordy an intellectual as the Decemberists' Colin Meloy or his pal and sometime collaborator Dan Bejar, the bacchanalian whirl of his arrangements - all blurting synths, drums cantering willy-nilly - forces you to listen hard to absorb his meaning. This makes Frog Eyes' music intriguing, if not always beautiful. Tears Of The Valedictorian is the band in top form, with Spencer Krug binding meandering tales of post-postmodernist artistic anxiety with wiry keyboards that echo Mercer's morphing vocals.
Frog Eyes get nerdy at Sneaky Dee's tonight (Thursday, May 24).