Moody, Standard and Poor
(out of 5)
Rick Froberg is the most consistent rock 'n' roll artist alive. From his work in Hot Snakes, Drive Like Jehu, and all the way back to Pitchfork, everything the man has been involved in turns out gold. Live, his bands are always flawless, often tearing through their most recent record in track order with barely a word between songs—no bullshit. Recent Obits performances—including the Sub Pop showcase at SXSW—exhibit no signs of diminished live prowess. This brings us to Obits' latest, the excellently titled Moody, Standard and Poor, which has much in common with 2009's I Blame You—tuneful, tightly coiled guitar work, brisk and unobtrusive percussion, occasionally brilliant bass lines (see closer "I Blame Myself"), and, of course, Froberg's harmonious and gravelly vocal snarl. (Former Edsel frontman Sohrab Habibion still handles vocals on some tracks, too.) Bitterness and ambivalence fire out in the same breath, and winning, losing, blame, and forgiveness still figure heavily in the lyrical content. "Things are just fucked, but they're also just right," Froberg always seems to be saying. (See: "Don't everything, baby/Look better in the morning?/Don't everything/Stink to high heaven/By afternoon?" off "Everything Looks Better in the Sun.") He's both a man of few words and a realist (even though some may say pessimist), and it's a damn hard mentality not to admire. Froberg is like the friend who doesn't talk much but speaks up to say you have a booger hanging out of your nose—and, really, who doesn't need one of those guys around?