As alleged "gay supremacists," who once rattled the cage of underground music with 1989's cult classic It's Only Right and Natural, Dennis and Jimmy Flemion have gone beyond telling the world, "We are homos, hear us roar." Their misguided Racially Yours found them singing about ethnic tension -- with one brother in blackface, the other in whiteface -- in an attempt to shock members of both tribes. And with a huge unreleased backlog of "made-up songs" (enough to rival both Ween and New Zealand's Tall Dwarves), the Milwaukee-based twosome inspires curiosity every time it foists itself upon the listening public.
The pair's first full-throttle, studio-recorded album -- Hopscotch Lollipop Sunday Surprise, released last year -- gives plenty of reason to uncork some champagne in the name of all things perverted. With customarily savage humor, the Froggies indulge in their strum-happy side for a solid collection of pastoral folk rock. They blend muted drums, toy pianos, harps, horns, and strings into lush and engaging tapestries. With lyrics elevated above mere crudeness (consult Matador's 1996 release, My Daughter the Broad, for their most raunchy batch), the two have matured, and they now employ orchestral arrangements to soften their honest contempt for, well, just about everything.
Because the Frogs let younger brother Jimmy handle vocals this go-round, any stigma they hold as a one-joke band can finally be set aside for good. Jimmy's voice is terrific. Heartfelt ballads such as "The Longing Goes Away" and "Bad Mommy" shimmer with great beauty; even over-the-top numbers like "Nipple Clamps" somehow manage to locate some feeling, despite the willful jocularity: It's Ray Davies by way of Bob Crane. "Better Than God" offers motivation therapy, while a delightfully egotistic "Enter I" might have you double-taking for Robert Pollard of Guided by Voices.
As treasured irritants go, the Frogs have earned a dose of indie cred that most bands would kill for. Die laughing this Saturday at the Lime Spider.