The Frigidaires - Play it Cool

The Frigidaires - Play it Cool

It's December, I'm very busy working on the Gremmy Awards, but I have to squeeze in a review because this was sent to me months ago before the aire was frigid. And I would guess that Chad and Cherry won't be reviewing it, so somebody has to!

Chad Shivers sent me this album, and he's the only name I know on it, but I want to be clear that most songs are written by "The Frigidaires", Chad is simply listed as "guitar, vocals", and that there's two other members sharing that description. So while it may sound like I'm treating this as a Chad band, it's only because I've heard a lot of his music and know him more than anybody else on this record -- I don't believe this is Chad Shivers & the Frigidaires (despite that totally working with his last name), and until I see the words "lead guitar" or something differentiating him otherwise, I'm not going to assume any outsized role.

Perhaps Chad's most well-known band is The Mystery Men?, who I believe are still a thing, having performed as recently as October. I don't think you would confuse this for a Mystery Men? album -- this is less atmospheric and moody, more fun-in-the-sun. However, if you were a fan of the slower songs on their record Firewalkers, then you're going to have fun here. Frigidaires tracks such as "Tide Pools" and "Really I Do" are absolutely in the same vein as "" or "Happy Little Kingdom by the Sea", and if those Mystery Men tracks were standouts to you, then you're pretty much obligated to listen to these Frigidaires tracks.

Another way that I see Chad in this band, though in this case Chad's probably not the only one contributing, is there's a clear love of Beach Boys present. This is kind of a gimme when you hear the vocal tracks (and there are a handful of these, instro-maniacs), but there's also a dollop of Pet Sounds nostalgic sweetness throughout, even if it's not explicitly mimicking their music.

But let's dig into these instros, because there's a lot going on.

The opener "Rip Current" has a little bit of everything, starting with a small and enigmatic, then progressively evolving into something new and eventually turning kinda sweet.

"Blue Worlds" is light-hearted, and perhaps even a little snowy. I mean throw a few sleigh bells in there and I think you've got a real nice Christmas song.

"Draggin" is not just fuzzed-out, but feels like it's specifically Davie Allan's brand. Towards the end there's a little extra guitar bit that tweaks it up to another level before setting off.

"Roller Skating Queen" reminds me of bands with a bit more of a pop-punk leaning, like Los Tiki Phantoms, while retaining a bit more surftone shine.

 And then there's a track that's gotta be a tribute to The Madeira's Ancient Winds: "Stormy Seas". It's not just guitar similar to Ivan Pongracic's, but I hear it in the song structure and in the percussion too.

If I had an issue with this record, it would be that by adopting so many styles so well it's hard to parse a complete identity for The Frigidaires. I said "If I had an issue" because all of these are very enjoyable tracks, and as long as that's the case I don't really care! There is a differentiator here, and it's good song-writing, and creativity to push a song past a thought, even past a complete composition, and into something decorated and extra. Maybe on a follow-up record they'll harden into something more recognizable, but they could also just not do that, and make another LP of great songs.

It's up on bandcamp as well as CDs and vinyl through Otitis' website.


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