Frog Bay roams from sci-fi dystopias and to heavenly skies on ambient new EP Pools.
Listening to Frog Bay’s sophomore EP Pools is like diving into a new world. Drenched in synths so spacious you might start levitating, the seven-track project showcases a mastery of heavenly sounds, which is certainly fitting for a purely instrumental and wordless tracklist.
The EP opens with the soft acoustics of Sky, which makes use of rustic strums and a slow-groove beat. Perhaps the track’s shining glory is its guitar work, providing both a steady bass throughline and ear-catching flairs.
Panning synths add texture to Sky, airy to the point where you feel you’re ascending to the heavens.What begins as soft-pop later transforms into experimentalism, as the synths become richer and the electric keys more sinister.
With his glitchy and arcade-like effects, Frog Bay delivers the kind of sci-fi and video game nostalgia you might hear on the Stranger Things soundtrack.
Ambient pop heads to the fore on Dust, with atmospheric production and the sporadic strum of an echoey guitar. While the sound is captivatingly brooding, Frog Bay retains sunnier elements with the assist of fuzzy rock flairs.
He later introduces yet another scene-stealing synth section, before the soundscape dissipates to make way for an extended outro.
Later, on EP highlight Water, Frog Bay ventures into upbeat grooves and makes for Pools’ most uplifting track yet. With its 70s-indebted guitars and summery feel, Water mimics what it feels like to take an afternoon dip, extending upon Frog Bay’s clear ability to provide a cinematic score for life’s simpler moments.
Elsewhere, Frog Bay tries his hand at a spaghetti Western soundtrack on penultimate track Harbour, which opens with the kind of string you might picture as a tumbleweed enters the frame.
While Frog Bay makes an effort to introduce diverse sounds and evoke vivid images in this way, he never loses sight of the ambient feel that anchors his work.
That combination of soundtrack-ready moments and electronic atmosphere reaches its peak on EP closer Glass. In amongst foot-tapping percussion and twangy strings, Frog Bay somehow adds more texture with a reverberating guitar melody and a sense of gradual build-up.
Here, the climactic moments end not in a flashy raucous, but in a smooth and futuristic synth section that still manages to feel cathartic.
It’s a testament to Frog Bay’s talent that he can provide such vivid musical vignettes with only sparse production and no lyrics, but the musician has clearly mastered his lane since debut effort Bedroom.
Chuck on your togs and get swimming in Frog Bay’s Pools below.