Generally speaking, when a tribute band releases original material they either run far away from their influence or they embrace it, too much and the “original” material sounds like a duplicate copy of the band they were influenced by. Peace Frog in its eponymously titled debut wears its influences on it’s sleeve but simultaneously makes them their own.
For those who are unfamiliar with Peace Frog, it is a Doors tribute band fronted by Tony Fernandez that has been a mainstay on Venice Beach since the 90’s. This current incarnation of Peace Frog includes Sean Colligan and Larry Rousseve on guitar, Owen Goldman (who has a history with The Doors of the 21st Century) on drums, Alex Rice and Paul Roessler on keyboards, Cornelius Mims on bass guitar and was produced by Paul Boutin. The band sounds tight as if they’ve been playing together awhile.
Peace Frog starts out with a flourish in “Heart of Darkness” that will remind the listener of the band’s roots as a Doors tribute band. Throughout there a references both musical and lyrical to The Doors and Peace Frog, despite the dark titles of the songs and the subjects of the songs hews to the ‘Pop’ side of The Doors and a 60’s sound. Which may be ironic because of any band, The Doors are responsible for the sound of music we hear today with a darker timbre in the sound and subject of the songs, after all it was The Doors who made a serial killer fodder for a hit song with “Riders on the Storm.”
Interestingly enough Fernandez’s voice doesn’t sound like Jim Morrison’s on this release but more like David Bowie’s circa “Cat People”, and there’s also a touch of guitar in these songs that sounds like surf music, but this mix leads to a unique sound for Peace Frog that is different enough to be unique and to stick out in the listeners mind. “Shake It” sounds like it could have been a hit song on 60’s radio and maybe it could be today if gets some airplay. “Fire and Snakes” which raps up the release, is a noir excursion that sounds like it could’ve come from or should be on a Quentin Taratino soundtrack.
Peace Frog and Fernandez is obviously heavily influenced by The Doors and that’s not too unexpected given Fernandez’s tenure as the lead singer of a Doors band and one would assume as Fernandez persues his own musical vision his influences will become more assimilated and less obvious.
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