Reviews \

Frog Eyes Rise to the Top of the Class

TORONTO: Carey Mercer's band brings acclaimed sound to the dingy Sneaky Dee's.

Before Frog Eyes’ Carey Mercer opened his mouth at Sneaky Dee’s (a.k.a. the Sneaky Disease) last night (May 24), he looked every bit the choirboy. With his neat blonde hair and pressed collar shirt, the cherubic-faced vocalist and multi-instrumentalist did not look anything like a man who creates the manic rock sound of Frog Eyes. But Mercer and crew proved their passionate ways, sticking with songs from the band’s latest album, Tears of the Valedictorian.

When Mercer wasn’t delivering his panicked vocals (“They Prey on the Weak and the Old”), guitarist Ryan Beattie (who also performed as the opener under the Himalayan Bear moniker) roared with his own searing solos (“Stockades”), which created a perfect aural match for Mercer’s fragmented lyrics (“Caravan Breakers”). On a louder version of “The Policy Merchant, the Silver Bay,” Mercer’s charisma exploded as he grabbed the mic and leaned over the crowd much like a preacher spitting vitriol to his faithful audience. Tears’ killer epic, “Bushels,” concluded the evening with a soulful performance and gagas a plenty, while dueling guitars tailored an apocalyptic soundscape — the perfect end before Mercer transformed back into his calm manner. MIKE WARNER / PHOTOS BY CLAIRE FARMER

We asked: In honor of Frog Eyes’ latest disc, Tears of the Valedictorian, what’s your worst high school memory?