Monday, December 04, 2006

The Flaming Tsunamis - Fear Everything CD Review

Right from the get go, this band didn’t seem to fit the mold that so many of the releases that circle around in today's musical arena so easily do. With a name like The Flaming Tsunamis you expect something off the wall (which they definitely are), but you don’t know what exactly. Are they some weird progressive pop-punk band? Or maybe a light-hearted metalcore band? Then there’s the CD cover which seems to convey the band wanting to make a political statement to the world, but are they going for the “drugs are rad” vibe or is this a metaphor for the state of affairs in our country? Actually, when you're actually listening to Fear Everything, it'll leave you even more puzzled than you were just thinking about them because you can take all of your pre-conceived notions about what this band might sound like and throw them out the door. This is jazz-ska-punk-dance-metalcore, ladies and gentlemen.

The sheer amount of diversity found throughout this effort can easily leave a listener’s head spinning. Take, for example, the song “Corpse Disposal for Dummies”. It starts off with a mix of punk guitars, snarly ranting vocals, and a peppy horn section. Within 45 seconds time the song shifts gears into a jazz breakout accompanied by repeated female spoken word vocals that then shift into a hand clap fronted, Red Hot Chili Peppers influenced, reggae rock flow that later gets layered over by some hard rock guitars at the two minute mark. The remainder of the song is a total mash up of metal chords, horns, yelling, and lyrics about, well, corpses.

Using that song as a blueprint for the rest of the CD might be a little misleading as the song is easily the most genre mashed of the disc, but the remainder isn’t too much less tame. The bottle of Ritalin on the cover might actually be a warning label to anyone wanting to listen to the CD in that by listening to this CD you will probably be counteracting the affects of any downers you’re currently on. Or else you'll want to take some to keep your head from spinning off of your shoulders. Everything on Fear Everything simply screams energy at you. There is no calm during this storm. From the opening of “The Ritalin Conspiracy” to the end of “Shit Piss Die”, the band is operating at a billion RPM. Well, except for about a minute at the end of “The Great Red Cross Robbery” when they throw in a smooth jazz outro and the quirky “Weaug, Teaug, Peaug”.

Having so many disparate elements blended together can lead to some phenomenally creative moments, but there is also the risk of having that concoction self destruct under the weight of trying to do too much at one time. Similar to the mythological Atlas, The Flaming Tsunamis manage to hold the weight of all of their influences on their shoulders quite well. How many bands have a hard time creating one or two decent songs in a single genre, let along create an entire album of quality music? If you asked me, probably 95% of bands in modern music. Now how many bands can successfully meld ska, metal, jazz, punk, hardcore, reggae, and even some latin flavor into twelve tracks of audible bliss? Right now there's only one. I’ll give you two guesses as to what that band’s name is.

No comments: