(07-15-1989) Sounds

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THE FROGS are two guys who, myth has it, sit out in Milwaukee, channeling their last days into an enormous flow of off-kilter, homoerotic songs.<br&> <br&> 'It's Only Right And Natural' taps 14 recordings from this stream and provides a new dimension to overtly gay music.<br&> <br&> The Frogs aren't so much gay and proud as gay, priapic and preposterous.<br&> <br&> While most staunchly gay music has a camp tone of uppity defiance, The Frogs create a seedy, dissipated sub-world, reveling in unsightly detail as on 'Richard Dick Richards': "I love the shirts you wear/When you come in your underwear".<br&> <br&> The Frogs' insane sprawl of semen, leather and sweat is just as fantastic and willfully absurd as Killdozer's land of mass murderers. 'Baby Greaser George', with its tale of oral sex with a three-month-old, quiff boy ("He wore a suit of leather") is a crazy parallel to the likes of Killdozer's 'Hamburger Martyr'.<br&> <br&> The Homestead label's name finds a new relevance here. This album has a homemade, scissors-and-paste aesthetic. The tracks are demo-standard, in that they seem cast somewhere between Daniel Johnston's naive bleatings and Syd Barrett's solo records.<br&> <br&> There's a medieval feel to these acoustic guitar pieces and a lyrical theme that's rampantly salacious on all but 'Gather Round For Savior #2', 'Car Crash' and 'I've Got Drugs'.<br&> <br&> 'Hot Cock Annie' and 'These Are The Finest Queen Boys' ("What will we do when the butter runs, out?") capture the essence of The Frogs' lyrical spurting, but beneath this litany of lust there's a compelling sadness.<br&> <br&> With their subject matter, there’s bound to be a fallout of twisted hearts and bruised muscles, but there’s also an air of doom about The Frogs. Surely by staging this orgy in the shadow of AIDS The Frogs can'’ help but make a desperate point.<br&> <br&> It’s this, with their lilting melancholy, that gives them their poignancy.<br&> <br&> Roy Wilkinson