12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Released around the same time as Slint,s "Spiderland", "Frigid Stars" mines much of the formers coal black seam, a relentless gruelling crawl through inertia, loss despair and grief all played with a weary resignation and sung in a voice so torpid it's like an anvils tied to his vocal chords. If this sound like it could be a bit of a chore to listen to then.....it might just be for delicate ears but stick with it and a stark beauty emerges.
All Codeine songs sound the same, but each has it's own unique grace and pulchritude. Skeletal guitars pick out plangent motifs, the percussion shuffles around in the background like a forgotten relative, that voice sounds like it's carrying the weight of the world on it's shoulders. Then the guitars will suddenly distort monstrously like some behemoth rising from the deep and the voice will raise from its slumber in sympathy before the whole thing collapses in on itself again.
None of this would matter if the material wasn't strong enough but the songs on "Frigid Stars" are all superb. Best of all is "Cave In" which follows the aforementioned formula but has a wonderful single guitar melody and a gut wrenching chorus that begs the question how can one man stand such enduring pain and misery?......By making albums like this I suppose.
Although hardly rock music in the traditional "rawk" sense this is a brilliant American rock album and though it doesn't contain a song as monumentally outstanding as "Good Morning Captain" from "Spiderland" (Though "Cave In" comes close.) is actually the superior work. This is a supremely consistent collection of fragile muscular songs that relate tales of real pathos from a whisper to a.....scream of sorts, these stars may be frigid but they still shine like diamonds on a dung heap.