After disbanding Frost* a second time, Jem Godfrey has put together a new lineup which has been together for a few years now. Long time guitarist/vocalist John Mitchell (Arena, It Bites, Lonely Robot) is the only member who has been on each Frost* album besides Godfrey. Added to the lineup is the rhythm section of bassist Nathan King (Level 42) and current Steven Wilson band drummer Craig Blundell.
This lineup is possibly the best and tightest that Godfrey has assembled yet. That’s all well and good but what about the music. Contrary to what I’ve read elsewhere, “Falling Satellites” is not better than the debut album “Milliontown,” in fact it’s not even close. The good news is that it’s light years better than the last album “Experiments in Mass Appeal” which was an extremely noisy, distorted bore of an album.
“Falling Satellites” is far from a bore and has some tracks that do rival “Milliontown” perfect track list. “Signs” and “Heartstrings” would not sound out of place on that album. Those are my two favorite tracks by a mile. But the 80s pop urgency of “Numbers” and the completely inane fluff of “Lights Out” feel like outtakes from “Experiments.” There are enough songs that are decidedly unique in arrangement and approach to make “Falling Satellites” its own album rather than an “odds n sods” album of leftovers. Jem’s love of technology remains. The beginning of “Towerblock” is some sort of dubstep shit and goes on far too long. The end of the song devolves into more annoying bullshit as well.
One of the major pluses of this album was getting Mitchell to take lead vocals on a few tracks, like the aforementioned “Signs.” It does wind up sounding like a Kino track but I love Kino so it works. Blundell is an amazing drummer and he adds a steady hand to the songs. The production on this album is amazing which is a relief since the last album was so distorted, I assume on purpose, that it was really fucking annoying.
Still, the shitty pop track “Light’s Out” sticks out like a sore thumb. Godfrey is good at ballads but making them off-kilter like “Snowman” is a better move than a slick radio ready song like this one. The only other oddity is the blues verses on “The Raging Against The Dying Of The Light Blues in 7/8.” Sure it’s prog “blues” but it doesn’t quite fit the rest of the track, especially the end of it which is flat out amazing.
“Nice Day for it…” and “Hypoventilate” also harken back to “Milliontown,” showcasing the playing ability of each member of the current Frost* lineup. Yes Nathan King is as good of a bassist as his brother. The end result is that while “Falling Satellites” is NOT “Milliontown,” it is still an excellent album with enough great moments to outweigh the mistakes.
1. First Day
5. Lights Out
7. Closer To The Sun
8. The Raging Against The Dying Of The Light Blues in 7/8
9. Nice Day For It…
11. Last Day