Fake Accent is a wonderful name for the quartet assembled by veteran Twin Cities musician Erik Fratzke. It gets at the sly subterfuge of the group's retro avant-garde music, inspired by Fratzke's formative years, from the late 1970s through the '80's.
The contrasts are pointed and plentiful, as you'd expect from a player who made his mark with both jazz renegades Happy Apple and metal shredders Zebulon Pike: Soothing tones and abrasive textures. Rubbery grooves and ambient ether. A smirking swagger combined coupled with serious scholarship.
The band released its debut album in May — "Four Serious Allegations," its title cribbed from an empty threat in a robocall Fratzke once received — but had to wait until Monday night at Icehouse for a proper album-release party.
It will be the first time Fake Accent has performed in public this year. Fratzke says the group will play the entire album and likely expand on the four songs, which each clock in between eight and 11 minutes.
It opens with the "Fake Accent Theme," which has a smooth tandem passage from Fratzke's guitar and Nathan Hanson on sax before drummer Cory Healey begins hitting percussion in a manner that sounds like breaking glass, followed by a long low drone Fratzke says functions like "a walking bass line" as first Hanson and then Fratzke shred on their respective instruments.
"Health House" is spectral, then syncopated, and becomes increasingly dense with some vintage keyboards and a slap bass to create what Fratzke refers to as his "Harmolodic Sugarhill Sauce," a meld of Ornette Coleman and early hip-hop.
"City Science" moves from a sinuous post-bop jazz piece into an extended interlude that somehow exudes both peace and foreboding. And "Secular Exorcist" is a collage of moods mostly whimsical and reflective until Fratzke splinters the furniture with his best guitar solo of the project over the rhythm section of Healey and bassist Cooper Doten.
Happy Apple casts a large shadow on his legacy, especially locally here among those who remember its nights in the Clown Lounge. Fratzke doesn't want to escape it — Fake Accent is likewise "jazz-adjacent" music — but with "Four Serious Allegations" he forges a path more clearly marked by his own distinct idiosyncrasies. It's his voice, and the accents are real.
When: 8 p.m. Mon., Sept. 27.
Where: Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls.
Tickets: $15, icehousempls.com