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Thursday, December 22, 2016

(the) Rumour - Frogs Sprouts Clogs and Krauts

Name: (the) Rumour
Album: Frogs Sprouts Clogs and Krauts
Year: 1978
Style: New Wave, Pub Rock, Power Pop
Similar Bands: Graham Parker, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe,  Joe Jackson, New Musik, Mid-XTC, ELO
One Word Review: Smooth Barroom Lecture
Based Out Of: London, UK
Label: Artista, Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
 Frogs Sprouts Clogs and Krauts - Cover, Sleeve, Record
Frogs Sprouts Clogs and Krauts - Back, Sleeve, Record
Frogs Sprouts Clogs and Krauts(1978)
  1. Emotional Traffic 2:48
  2. We Believe In You / New Age 5:06
  3. Frozen Years 3:37
  4. Tired Of Waiting 3:25
  5. Euro 3:53/
  6. One Good Night 2:46
  7. Loving You (Is Far Too Easy) 3:20
  8. All Fall Down 2:29
  9. Two Leaders 3:10
  10. I Can't Help Myself 2:42

Album Rating (1-10): 7.5

Members & Other Bands:
Brinsley Schwartz - Guitars & Vox (Graham Parker, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, David Edmunds, Carlene Carter, Garland Jefferys, Al Stewart, )
Martin Belmont - Guitars & Vox (Graham Parker, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, David Edmunds, Carlene Carter, Garland Jefferys, Kippington Lodge Social Club, Ducks Delux, Paul Carrack, Johnny Cash, John Hiatt, Desmond Dekker)
Steve Goulding - Drums & Vox (Graham Parker, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, David Edmunds, Carlene Carter, Garland Jefferys, The Mekons, Kippington Lodge Social Club, Megan Reilly, Waco Bros., Archer Prewitt, Pine Valley Cosmonauts, Poi Dog Pondering, Gang of Four, Gene Loves Jezebel, )
Andrew Bodnar - Bass (Graham Parker, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, David Edmunds, Carlene Carter, Garland Jefferys, Pretenders, )
Bob Andrews - Keys, Vox (Graham Parker, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, David Edmunds, Carlene Carter, Garland Jefferys, Kippington Lodge Social Club, Brinsley Schwartz, Ducks Delux, Tenpole Tudor, Dr Feelgood, Al Stewart)
Dick Hanson - Trumpet (Ossie Laine Show, The Greatest Show On Earth, The Inmates, John Glover, Dave Edmunds)
Roger Bechirian - Engineering, Producer
Greg Calbi - Mastering

Unknown-ness: Let's just say I didn't realize what I was buying when I picked this up...with the band name in such small font, I chose it based on the artwork and text boxes. I know who the Rumour is, though, so no need to delve further here.

Album Review: Chalk this up to one of those bands I should have recognized. I’ve been a fan of Graham Parker for a while, but not enough I guess to recognize his major backing band on one of their three solo efforts. They backed Parker starting in 1976 (the band was formed in 1975), called it quits in 1980, and fully reunited in 2011 and have played with him since. During their time together, they also backed Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Carlene Carter and Garland Jeffreys. In between their band years, they have all been studio musicians. This, their second “solo” album, was conceived as a commentary of European Society and showcases a dedicated new wave style.

“Emotional Traffic” begins with what sounds like warbling backwards played synth. That dissipates, and a power pop song kicks in, similar to Steve Forbert or Dave Edmunds. The verse skips along with rhyming, rhythmic lyrics, and ends each line with a hold of a power chord and the title, which works as a short chorus. There is a breakdown that ends the song, throwing the chorus/title in a reverse melody.
“We Believe In You / New Age” starts off with a strong power pop hook, reminding me of Nick Gilder. The song gets bouncier, and sounds like XTC playing pub rock. Also, it would be very easy to confuse this with Graham Parker, as the song is set up like his style, which leads you to question how much of his albums are his, and how much are really the Rumour. The second half of the song sounds more like straight forward mid period XTC. And as this is 2-5 years before XTC went toward this style, I would have to imagine this was an influence. The song breaks in a watery, squeaky synth improve section to end the song.
“Frozen Years” features cold swirling synth in the background of a relaxed, Eno-ish song that grows on you with repeat listens. The song reminds me of New Musik. The instrumental features bright twinkling synth before it dives down into a trippy synth-a-delic sound.
“Tired of Waiting” begins with an electric guitar, and crashes in with a wooden xylophone in the background, and power pop chops and vocals in the front. It is a little lofty, similar to ELO in production and harmonies. It feels like an early-mid 70’s AOR track.
“Euro” begins with sedated British vocals, and a basic, choppy music structure that is similar to the Lowe/Joe Jackson/Graham Parker style. After two verses, the song takes a very upbeat turn into the chorus, and is very catchy, with vocals similar to Elvis Costello in Miracle Man. In the chorus-hand clap breakdown that ends the song, spoken, tv ad vocals are overdubbed over the melody’s fade out. The song ends with a warbly synth circus carousel melody.

“One Good Night” is a straight forward pub power pop song, with strength in the piano melody and a catchy harmonized refrain.  
“Loving You (Is Far Too Easy)” has a rush of urgency from the start: not full throttle, but reserved. That fades away, and the smooth harmonized vocals take the tempo down to a gliding, strutting power pop song.
“All Fall Down” is a darker, slinky pop song. I like to call this a Back Alley jam, like bluesy reggae. But after a verse of the bluesy strut, a bright sounding trumpet picks up the energy along with the piano, only to return to the darkness in the next verse.
“Two Leaders” is bright, fun and energetic from the start. The vocals are nasally like the great British songwriters they supported. It is a bold melody, with a rollicking structure. It is a solid track with just enough power pop and pub rock combined together with an upbeat outlook. The end falls into a repetitive hook, coupled with the piano bit that really makes it catchy.
“I Can't Help Myself” begins with a slow piano ballad-y approach. It feels sentimental, and the vocals echo in reflection. 

Stand Out Track: Two Leaders

Reunion Article w/ Parker NYTimes

1 comment:

  1. I am a huge GP fan and snapped up the three Rumour released back in the day (LP) and got them as they were released on CD as well.

    I need to give them another listen, as my memory of the CD's as I acquired them was that they did not hold up as well as the GP albums did.

    Still, you hit the jackpot as a Parker fan on finding this.