frogstomp (20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
Release Date: 27 March 2015
Review by Kiel Egging
One of the occasionally frustrating things most great rock bands have to put up with is despite evolving and embracing new directions as the years go by, there’s always reminders of the past – and the fans like to let you know about it too.
Silverchair are prime victims of this; despite their latter, bolder releases such as ‘Diorama’ and ‘Young Modern’ gathering the most critical acclaim, so many Australian rock purists still have a soft spot for the turbo-charged local grunge they bashed out as pre-teens in their parents’ Newcastle garages. This was evident with the repetitive screams of ‘FRROGGGGG-STOMP’ by countless cloaked-up Bogans at any festival the band played from 2006-2010 (only ‘Israel’s Son’ would get a run if they were lucky).
Hence, those types of punters and the hardcore ‘Chair fans who know any possible new material from the band may never surface are sure to lap up this celebratory 20th Anniversary re-issue of their seminal debut album.
Like most ‘remastered’ releases, if you’ve listened to the original so many times, it’s pretty hard to pick out anything dramatically different. Aside from what sounds like some crisper drum fills, and the distortion on Johns’ guitars turned up half a notch on a few tracks, the remastered ‘frogstomp’ also finds itself in this ‘meh’ category.
Disc 2 – the ‘rarities’ disc – is the most enjoyable and fan-enticing part of this package. It contains their first ‘official’ release – the ‘Tomorrow’ EP – which unlike the remastered ‘frogstomp’ sounds like it’s been given a real polish (despite the tracklisting being mixed up). After listening to a young Johns’ best imitations of Eddie Vedder, you can also enjoy the vocal version of ‘Madman’ and the audio of the live concert from The Cambridge in Newcastle, which features on the DVD with a couple of video clips of the album’s singles.
In the ‘deluxe 20th anniversary re-issues of classic grunge albums’ stakes – Silverchair are still ‘Nirvana In Pyjamas’ if you put this next to the latter’s re-issue of ‘Nevermind’ from a few years back and compare the goodies on offer there. But re-living one of the most significant releases by a young rock band in Australian modern rock history is a welcome and worthwhile walk down memory lane – and hence, a little package like this serves its purpose of doing just that.