To Dream, Perchance to Sleep
You can count on Projekt to bring you some of the best ethereal/gothic ambient bands out there, and Frolic is no exception. With their combination of gorgeous female vocals, warm synths, and guitar textures, Frolic reminds me a lot of Love Spirals Downwards, but with a colder, harsher, more experimental side to their music. The sometimes deeply claustrophobic, enveloping nature of the synths also feels a bit like early Jeff Greinke, and there’s one track – “So True” – whose rhythmic beats and spare, crystalline keyboards bear more than a passing resemblance to The Sisters of Mercy’s “Flood” from Floodland.
My favorite tracks tended to be the ones that foregrounded Kelly O’Brien’s lovely vocals against a backdrop of Matthew Chinn’s quietly atmospheric synth (Jon Beard sings on a couple tracks, but I think he might be better off sticking with his guitar). The opening “Tides of March” is a good example, with its rain and ocean sounds, deep throbbing drumbeats, water-glass synth, and sweet, echoing, siren singing; listening to it immediately transports you to another world, refracted through thick glass, very darkly. “As Time Goes By” is another nicely soothing track, with bright synth drones and heavenly voice setting your mind to floating far away. “Stay,” on the other hand, is altogether more disturbing, but just as enjoyable, with its spooky guitar, low bass beats, and haunted, taunting synth, ending with O’Brien’s heavily distorted voice being torn to shreds, just like the heart of the narrator in the lyrics. The album’s lengthy title tracks also falls on the noisier end of the ethereal spectrum, building a thick cloud of enchanting yet disturbing unreality with its synth washes, fuzzed-out guitars, and distant female vocals, too beautiful to be real, like the voice of an angel on the edge of dream; the only thing that mars it is the rather uninteresting male lead vocals.