In the diverse realm of literary indie rock—inhabited by bands such as Okkervil River, Mountain Goats, Centro-matic, Rock Central Plaza and the Decemberists —Frog Eyes' tales of wrath and ruination/rumination may be the most difficult to decipher. On Tears of the Valedictorian, which follows the Victoria, British Columbia, quartet's enigmatic trilogy (The Bloody Hand, The Golden River, The Folded Palm), Carey Mercer's fragmented rhetoric rummages through Roman ruins via the jagged guitar structures of Crazy Horse-era Neil Young and the Pixies' post-punk as the gaiety of his vocals manifests in syllabic slurs and tribal yelps. The album, which again features Wolf Parade's Spencer Krug, who joined Mercer and Destroyer's Dan Bejar in Swan Lake last year, cradles the cataclysmic with piercing piano rhythms and bombastic drums, courtesy of Mercer's wife Melanie Campbell, in a personal quest toward unadulterated freedom. Openers Alex Delivery recently released their debut, Star Destroyer, a cosmic concoction of musique concrète and krautrock, while Dallas' spastic and surprising rockers the Tah-Dahs perform with tongues lodged permanently in cheek.
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