Thursday, February 20, 2014

Single Review: Bronco Bullfrog - “Time Waits For Norman”


Bronco Bullfrog’s new single is part of that latest batch of releases from the vinyl-only U.K. label Fruits de Mer. (See Tuesday’s post for a review of Crystal Jacqueline and The Honey Pot.) Their name (possibly taken from a 1970 film) might be unfamiliar to a majority of Americans, but these guys have been performing for almost two decades in England. Judging by the three tracks on this colored vinyl single, Bronco Bullfrog has a deep fascination with 1960s music.

“Time Waits For Norman,” a tale of a kleptomaniac stalking a small town, emulates “Strawberry Fields” with its panoramic view and clever character studies. The melody and harmony vocals are gorgeous, even as the lyrics lament the banality of middle class life, with lines like, “What is there to show, ‘cept for growing old?” “Working Horse Mender” is an unabashed children’s tune about a shop where wooden horses go to begin a new life after they’ve fallen off a carousel. The descriptive and innocent imagery recalls the more ornate efforts of The Bee Gees and The Hollies.

A cover of “Listen To The Sky” by a short-lived Brit group called Sands provides another sterling example of how so many Fruits de Mer artists unearth treasures from another era and make them new again. “Listen To The Sky” has a more rock-oriented arrangement than the other two tracks here, while maintaining Bronco Bullfrog’s penchant for intricate vocal interplay.

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