Song of the Day: Froth – Romance Distractions

photo by Jeff Fribourg

photo by Jeff Fribourg

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Romance Distractions,” by Froth, from their 2017 release, Outside (briefly), out now on Wichita Recordings.

Froth – Romance Distractions (MP3)If you’ve been following L.A. band Froth from the beginning, consider yourself lucky. Over the last six years, they’ve been a rewarding band to watch grow. Since starting as a joke between friends who could barely play their instruments, they’ve now released three albums on progressively larger indie labels, each one tip-toeing the group’s garage rock sound into new arenas. With their latest release, Outside (briefly), it’s safe to say they’ve far surpassed their initial ambitions, which, noted L.A. Weekly, consisted of releasing an album of 20 minutes of silence.

“Romance Distraction,” Froth’s finest foray into the shoegaze genre, is a prime example of the band’s musical growth. On it, singer/guitarist Joo-Joo Ashworth can’t forget a girl who has left him. Though clearly trotting on familiar territory in the rock canon, he distinguishes himself with his writing, flowing freely between first-person confessions (“I still can’t shake the sinking feeling”) and tiny observations about the room it seems he hasn’t left in days (“the shades still drawn”). He leaves listeners with a beautiful vignette on the different ways people deal with loneliness.

The song structure and production, reminiscent of shoegaze pioneers Galaxie 500, quietly complement the pained lyrics. At the beginning of the song, listeners plummet into 20 seconds of powerful vamping, suggesting the initial shock of the lover’s departure. The verse gives way to gentler strumming, but Ashworth’s voice remains distant, as if the singer couldn’t bear to speak more clearly about the heartache, the feeling still too raw.

Artful production aside, the biggest draw of “Romance Distractions” is the searing guitar line, which soars over the other instruments like the one stable part of the singer’s world. In the end, Outside (briefly)‘s fifth track balances the central paradox of all great pop songs: It’s happy and sad at the same time, and doubly memorable because of that bittersweet feeling. With “Romance Distractions,” there’s no reason you’d want to forget.

Unfortunately, Froth already passed through Neumos in February, playing with Temples and L.A. buddies Night Beats. Til next time, check their website for any upcoming tour dates and enjoy their session at our old space in 2015, posted below. Happy listening!

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