Frosted Orange lights up the after-party with debut album

The group's self-titled debut fits squarely into the Noot d’ Noot lineage while serving to advance its own narrative.

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<a href="http://frostedorange.bandcamp.com/album/frosted-orange">Frosted Orange by Frosted Orange</a>
After the funk party juggernaut Noot d’ Noot ended its run a few years back, the members scattered in various directions, towards new bands, DJ gigs, and guest spots. One of these new projects is Frosted Orange. Featuring Crib Notes music writer Mathis Hunter on guitar and vocals, Dr. Kinje on tenor sax and vocals, Richard D. Morris, Jr. on keys, Andrew Morrison on bass, and Lee Corum on drums, the band has unveiled its self-titled debut LP. Despite the tangible connection to its musical past, the album stands on its own merits.

Recognizing most of the members’ names from Noot d’ Noot and its extended, heavily intertwined family doesn’t much prepare listeners for the album. Wildcard drummer Corum drives the music into uncharted territory. Known for his quick, precise drumming with the Purkinje Shift, he brings the same intensity to Frosted Orange. The album opens with a commanding roll that wouldn’t feel out of place on a surf album. The rest of the opening track, “Ride the Pine,” moves with a quickness. Atop Corum’s foundation ride Kinje’s tenor sax and Morris’s plinking keys. For its choruses and solo, Hunter’s guitar straddles the line between hard rock and '80s metal. On “Spin a Yarn,” the band doesn’t stray far from the '60s psych-folk ground that Hunter trod on his 2010 solo album Soft Opening.
“Nobody Asked” sounds somewhat familiar with Noot d’ Noot-style funk wanderings, but the more guitar-driven nature of the song separates Frosted Orange from its predecessor. “The Fifth Horseman” and album closer “Strange Wine” have a definite jazz-fusion flavor, and the duel between lead guitar and tenor sax on “Boudin” mirror the epic stylings of John Coltrane. Roadhouse blues shuffle “Don't Mean Nothing” sticks out in the middle of the album, adding some variety to the jazz stylings that form Frosted Orange's basis. The album covers a lot of jazz territory, and takes equally compelling detours.

Frosted Orange has plenty of variety — perhaps, on paper, too much. In practice, though, it works due to the deft, capable performers that make up the band. Driving beats and compelling solos work together to push the album into the stratosphere.The near virtuosic playing never comes at the expense of great songs and a cohesive album. Frosted Orange’s debut fits squarely into the Noot d’ Noot lineage while serving to advance its own narrative. There’s no telling where this project will go, but there’s joy in watching it unfold. ★★★★☆

Frosted Orange plays an album release party at Venkman's on Sat., June 4. With The Pinx, Joe Pettis, and DJ Dookie Platters. $8-$15. 10 p.m. 740 Ralph McGill Blvd. www.venkmans.com.

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