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Monday, March 18, 2013

Frodus -- And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea


In the dawning of the new century, every now non-existent music website I used to visit had pretty much declared Frodus' recorded, but unreleased final album as the greatest work of art ever made.  I wasn't a huge fan of Frodus' "spazzcore" sound, but their name sounded like "Frodo," and their upcoming album was titled And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea. With a name like that, I had to hear it.
In 2001, Frodus finally found a label to release And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea, two years after it had been recorded. I downloaded any song I could until my good college friend, Craig Slaven, loaned me the album. This became such a regular occurrence that Craig Slaven, an early digital adopter, just burned And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea to his computer and gave me his copy. Craig Slaven, I just said your name three times because I haven't talked to you in more than two years, and I'm hoping to exercise the Beetlejuice effect.
Anyway, as you can guess, spazzcore means that a band plays crazy, time-signature shifting, heavy music with screamed vocals. Frodus do this a little bit on And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea, but they seem more concerned with stretching out their sound and giving it space. Six of the album's tracks either eclipse or approach the five minute mark. Frodus is more content filling this time with moody, slow-building instrumentals than musical freak-outs. The screaming is even leveled out with an equal amount of singing. Not poppy-singing, mind you. This band is so anti-commercial, I can't imagine what smooth vocals would sound like over their songs. That said, the singing isn't bad and adds a lot, lending a slight warmth to And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea befitting of its title.
And We Washed Our Weapons In the Sea's wandering basslines are the album standout, though, adding a complexity to the band's sound that is more fun than baffling.
Overall, I don't think And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea is quite a masterpiece. It isn't focused enough, and some songs seem unfinished, or just need a little something more. Then again, this is also a positive.  And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea is one of those rare albums that truly feels alive, changing just a little and meaning something different every listen. It's the reason Frodus still has an operational website fourteen years since their final album was recorded. Today, I give it a nine.

Fueled by Ramen 2001
1. Red Bull of Juarez 2:18
2. The Earth Isn't Humming 4:40
3. There Will Be No More Scum 4:46
4. Out-Circuit the Ending 5:48
5. Chiriacho Summit 1:54
6. Belgian Congo 5:55
7. The Awesome Machine 4:20
8. 6/99 4:43
9. Hull Crush Depth 3:34
10. Year of the Hex 4:57
11. And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea 3:05

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