Frog Eyes – “Pay For Fire”
Canadian indie rock iconoclasts Frog Eyes announced last month that they would be breaking up after a run of almost two decades together. Their last album, Violet Psalms, is due out on May 18 on Paper Bag Records. Following their triumphant diptych of a lead single, “Idea Man,” the band has released the more restrained and occasionally beautifully tuneful “Pay For Fire.” The song is colored by serrated and burbling synth blasts, without the normal shifts between breathless whispers and vocal histrionics that lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Carey Mercer usually favors. Therefore, it’s one of the most effective and distinctive Frog Eyes songs I’ve heard in some time, affirming how sorry we should be to see them go. Via Stereogum, Mercer shared the following statement about the song:
“Pay For Fire” is like a good percentage of my songs: written to represent a small community, as in a village, a small town, a city block: this portrait is besieged by external forces, set upon by resource extractive corps (“pay for fire”, a version of paying for water), trying vainly to honour its elders who are forced to work crap jobs (“We won’t steal the ancient’s shifts”), watching its infrastructure fall into disarray (“the water tank’s going to break this year”). It sounds dark, but I find it uplifting and resilient — perhaps it’s the way the synthesizers bubble up, or the twinkle of the high-pitched electric guitars that float in and out of the sound field. It seemed like a good last song for the album, and, in a linear sense, the band.
Listen to “Pay For Fire” below.