Look Into Them

Carey Mercer’s voice is uniquely expressive: Once you overcome the initial shock of his guttural quiver and strangled whoops, it’s possible to feel halfway comfortable inside the fitful songs of his longtime band, Frog Eyes. Listening back to the Canadian quartet’s first four albums, there’s almost a feeling that Mercer and company can no longer surprise us. A single brush with the long-awaited new Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph abolishes that notion: The band is as erratic and arresting as ever, only with newfound sureness and poise. The songs’ lurid, slow-burn psychedelia still inform Mercer’s wild singing, but they also gather into moments of weird serenity as the instruments slosh together for wordless stretches. Opening with a nine-minute track and ending with an eight-minute one, there’s no attempt at accessibility. Yet the animalistic whims of earlier albums have developed into a vast, tarnished grandeur that matches Mercer’s fixation on dubious figures of power. The guitar and organ are pitched between beautiful and disturbing, and the bass and drums share their own gritty intensity. Shocking all over again, it’s like hearing Frog Eyes for the first time.
Sat., May 29, 9:30 p.m., 2010

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