Frozen Houses’ self-titled record is an indie-pop offering marked by levity. Whether that levity is from the unusually spacious mix, the lack of low-end in the acoustic guitar, the laconic pace of the songs, or the overall warm-and-lazy vibes, the levity pervades.
The indie-pop here is multifaceted—there are ‘80s nostalgia tunes, songs tipped with Graceland twinges, Bossa nova flights of fancy, and chill folk-pop. Each of these genres is connected by the aforementioned mood of relaxation and the low, smooth vocals of Alex Hill.
Hill’s songwriting chops are well-developed; he knows how to write a pop vocal melody and how to arrange a song to support—not interfere—with that melody. By deploying them in a variety of milieus, he takes listeners on a quite a journey. You may not like all of these songs (the Mountain Goat-esque strum of “Greenhouse on Mars” opens up into some Tom Petty-esque rock; contrast that against the noodly guitar and Lou Reed vocal delivery of “Road Aroma”), but each of them is created with impeccable care.
Opener “Hey Leanne” is the ‘80s nod here, all spacious guitar reverb and lots of space between notes. “Tomorrow We’re Gone” has the most infectious melody of the bunch, both in the main melody and the background vocal response in the chorus. But all of these tunes have pop charms, if you’re up for a tour of indie-pop styles. It’s a lot of fun for those inclined to take the journey.