Music Review: Plywood by Frat Mouse

Plywood is the third and most recent album from American rock band Frat Mouse. The band was founded in October 2019 by Truman Sinclair on guitar and vocals and Griffin Meehan on bass and vocals, Ben Lopez became the drummer and final vocalist for Frat Mouse in May 2020. 

Frat Mouse take influences from Blink-182, Talking Heads, Heart to Gold, Pinegrove and Citizen. 

Although they have no been able to play live for over a year now, the band are planning to tour Japan next summer with Gravesend. 

Each track on Plywood was written and recorded in a four-hour window and after seven months of writing, recording and producing the album was finished. Plywood really encompasses the DIY vibe with everything being recorded in either Truman’s bedroom or Ben’s garage by the trio. 

Each track on Plywood explores its own story and the album as a whole carries a message of growth and battling mental health. 

Opening the album is grant wasserstein, pt.3 which features the vocals of Chloe Elise. Instantly I am in awe at Truman’s vocals. They smoothly roll into the track with a soft silvery tone that you can’t help but grant your whole attention. 

The two voices blend together wonderfully with Chloe’s higher tone reaching the peaks that Truman’s cannot. This makes for a harmonious vocal line which carries the emotional tone of the track. 

The laidback instrumentation is joined by a guitar line which adds embellishment and interest to the light track. I was not expecting such a gentle opening to the album. This was a surprise, but a welcome one. 

Next up is the album’s namesake plywood. This is an instant mood booster from the slightly sombre opening track. The full-on pop-punk inspired instrumentation brings a whirlwind of upbeat vibes that feels like it will never end, not that you would want it to. 

In this track, the silvery quality has all but disappeared from Truman’s tone and it is instead replaced with a grittier tone. With backing vocals now supplied by the rest of the band, the track has a fullness to it which really amps up the energy of this release. 

A slow-building opening introduces us to third track fryman. Pared-back verses pave the way into this track to make way for huge choruses that crash through with a massive wall of sound. 

The instrumentation has a disjointed flow, which should not work but it really does. A section of stop-start from the drums and guitar pushes and pulls the listener away from and into the track at the same time. 

Ending before it feels like it even began fryman fades away until all that is left is anticipation for the next track.

Just past the midway point, you are greeted with another mellow track which just happens to go by the name yellow. 

Jangly guitars are gently plucked throughout the extended introduction bringing in a more indie inspired sound than what has been heard so far. Suddenly interrupted by a building drone sound, which is over before it can really begin, the vibe of the track is flipped on its head. 

The guitars hike up in both volume and speed to be joined by a high resonating snare drum. 

Throughout the entirety of the track you are waiting for the vocals to come swimming in, however, this does not happen. Without realising you have sat through the two minute long instrumental. Which genuinely leaves you wanting more. 

Plywood is a perfect example of DIY done right. Every track and part of this album feels wholly like Frat Mouse and you can sense how much time and love was put into the release. 

This album has definitely left me with no doubt that Frat Mouse are set to reach the most dizzying of heights.

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