First album in eight years from Jem’s boys

A lot changes in eight years, musically it can be a lifetime – for some bands it is.

Yet, that is precisely how long it is since Frost*, who first bust into the public conscience with their 2006 piece of brilliance “Milliontown”, have been off the grid for.

Not that main man Jem Godfrey has been idle for that time – he’s a producer of some repute in the pop world, and has MVM’s eternal respect for the fact he might have met Holly Vallance when he mixed her stuff– and it is perhaps this day job that makes the work on “…..Satellites” so labyrinthine and complicated, and yet – and we accept this is an odd juxtaposition – there is a pop sensibility which informs much of it too.

The stark electro opening to “First Day” also gives a clue too, as there is a strong presence of the keyoboard throughout, but there’s an edge to songs like “Numbers” too, which means that it understands the importance of harmonics too – and here, as elsewhere on this marvellous collection, the guitar work of John Mitchell (It Bites) is predictably magnificent.

On occasion it all meshes together perfectly, one of these times is the superbly evocative “Towerblock” which tells the tale of Godfrey’s childhood home being knocked down and does so in the most interesting way imaginable with the clever use of multi-layered samples really adding to the chaotic feel.

Elsewhere, there is just a feeling of class being shot through the record, “Signs” feels important, the stripped down “Lights Out” with its male/female vocals, is gorgeous, with “Heartstrings” which follows, every inch its bombastic counterbalance.

“Closer To The Sun” pulses its way through its seven and a half minutes, and if nothing here is actually epic in prog rock terms, then that doesn’t mean that things don’t take some elaborate twists and turns, with the elaborately titled “The Raging Against The Death Of The Light Blues In 7/8” managing to match up to its name as there is a real wall of riffing guitar to create a real highlight, especially when taken with the crushing “Nice Day For It….” the near instrumental which follows.

After another interlude of “Hyperventilate” the piano driven “Last Days” concludes an album that may not immediately reveal itself to the listener, but given the time becomes something to cherish.

Rating 8/10

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