Frodus is one of the lesser-known DC post-punk bands, and if you aren’t from the area originally, they’re a band you’ve probably never heard of. The band released a handful of albums and EPs on small labels before signing with Tooth and Nail Records to release “Conglomerate International.” But it was the band’s posthumously released “And We Washed Our Weapons In The Sea” that made them indie legends.
And “We Washed Our Weapons In The Sea” was released in 2001 on “Fueled” by Ramen Records; two years after the band had recorded the album. What made the record so special was the growth in the sound. Where “Conglomerate International” was a refined, crisp version of the spastic noise punk that Frodus had become known for, “And We Washed Our Weapons In The Sea” was a mature indie rock record. There were still math rock elements at play but the band was clearly experimenting and moving their sound forward.
While Shelby Cinca’s (lead vocals) signature scream isn’t completely missing from the record, it’s limited. There’s a calm to the album, a territory that Frodus had never ventured into before. Yet right when you’re being lulled into a sense of calm and peace, the distortion kicks in and Cinca screams his head off and grabs your attention.
“Red Bull of Juarez” and “The Earth Isn’t Humming” show off Nathan Burke’s skill as a bass player. There’s a level of technicality and skill with the bass riffs that punch you in the face when they’re the main focus of the song, but as other instrumentation comes in and fills the song out, the same riffs fit nicely in the background and occupy space perfectly.
The level of musicianship as a whole on the record is amazing. Cinca’s guitar riffs had always been interesting and Jason Hamacher’s drumming was always solid. But by slowing down the songs, it allowed their skills to shine in a new way that can be overlooked in the fast paced, chaotic punk the band had been playing.
The lyrics are still uncompromising and Frodus’ punk attitude still shows its head on tracks like “The Awesome Machine” and “Year of The Hex.” But the vibe was something new and fresh from a band that spent six years in the DC underground scene.
“And We Washed Our Weapons In the Sea” is a fantastic record that holds up as something fresh and interesting even 11 years after it’s initial release.