Mike Prete    3-November-2001 Frogg Cafe

Long Island quintet Frogg Cafe's debut is a strong slice of uniquely American progressive rock. The band's main acknowledged influence is Zappa - they were originally a Zappa cover band and even quote the main theme of "Inca Roads" in "Questions Without Answers". At other times, the strong lead violin sound is reminiscent of the band Hands and there is a strong jazz-based undercurrent. The band alternates from light and airy piano or violin parts to darker and more intense guitar-dominated passages, creating a nice dynamic contrast. The unique addition of trumpet adds interesting tonal coloring not usually associated with symphonic prog.

At times the music can be a rocking, fast paced fusion like in "Old Man" or, at others, a more mellow and traditional jazz sound like in "While You Were Sleeping". Most of the songs tend to combine both aspects to create a successful end product. The vocals aren't exactly a strong point, but are not distracting in any way. Occasional harmony vocals are used to good effect. The majority of the songs are instrumental and emphasize the players strengths. Fans of symphonic fusion looking for something a little different will most likely enjoy this one.

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