Published May 13, 2020The members of FRIGS may have spent the last few years backing up Orville Peck, but surprise-released new EP RAVE AND RUPTURE IN MUSIC AS DISASTER proves they certainly haven't lost their spiny, post-punk edge. Any doubt is erased in the opening moments of "Pleasure" and completely gone from one's mind the moment vocalist Bria Salmena grinds out guttural "Ai!"s between the verses.
FRIGS have long been Toronto's answer to the strain of post-punk shepherded in recent years by the likes of Priests and Control Top, and while their activity in the years since 2018's debut album Basic Behaviour has been limited, they've been spending their time in the shadows, waiting for the perfect time to strike — and they've found their moment.
RAVE AND RUPTURE is a concise mission statement that distills the band's sound and ethos into a brisk 15-minute exercise in off-kilter melodies and rattling low-end. There are twanging guitar leads and thundering drums to craft a melancholic mood, but it's Salmena that commands most of the attention. Her versatility gives the album its vast range, from venomous howls to softer, comforting background vocals to powerful belting.
The way Salmena leads FRIGS into diverse territory over the EP's short runtime is the release's most impressive calling card. Closing track "Constant" tears open an angular guitar attack into a mesmerizing, triumphant build, with the clearest vocals of Salmena's career emerging from the band's sonic wreckage atop pattering drums. It's hypnotic, urgent and catchy above all else, packing years and years of lessons and experiments into a concise and complex package.
Whether ditching their spurs and slide guitars or weaving an engaging tapestry of punk and rock, the five members of FRIGS need little time to showcase their range. And there's definitely little time — the EP was posted without warning to their Bandcamp and given a 48-hour time limit before it will be taken down for good. Listeners should act fast, because as the abrupt end of any FRIGS song shows, the band always know the right time to call it.