From the very beginning, Froth were born from humorous experimentation. The band emerged from an elaborate spoof in which they were set to release a vinyl pressing that featured 20 minutes of silence. They eventually connected over an impromptu jam session and it turned into a genuine proposition. Fast forward to their fourth full-length release, and Froth are undeniably an altogether more serious outfit. Ending a two-year interval, Duress succeeds previous passing excursion (Outside (briefly)), and further establishes their appealing blend of ethereal shoegaze, contrasted with hard-hitting melodies and forceful electronics.

For a group that subsist in an extremely well-trodden milieu (there are plenty of reverb-drenched revivalists all competing for attention) their subversive attitude and mischievous experimentation is what sets them apart. They’ve not always pulled it off, and for every innovative triumph there’s been the a misplaced cliché or overused platitude. Likewise, a tendency to overstock the beginning of the record, but hey, don’t most artists do that?

Anyway, here, once again, nothing is held back. Album opener ‘Laurel’ is immediately captivating, packed with charisma, searing melodies and blasting analogue synths. The chamber psych-pop ‘Catalog’ follows this theme, albeit at a more leisurely pace. And yet there are a few familiar lapses here; ‘Dialogue’ trundles along offering nothing much of note, while album closer ‘Syndrome’ struggles with a forgettable drum machine preamble and overindulgent protracted guitar squeals. Nevertheless, the impact is less discernible than on previous work, and while it’s not complete perfection, Froth have demonstrated their most compelling and acute work to date. A notch or two closer to higher acclaim.

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