Monday, August 27, 2007

Absolutepunk reviews "Addicted to Bad Ideas"

The World/Inferno Friendship Society - Addicted To Bad Ideas
Posted on 08-27-07 by Tom Good

Release Date: September 11th, 2007
Record Label: Chunksaah Records

How do you describe something that is pretty much indescribable? This feat becomes all the more daunting when confronted with an album that is pretty much an amalgam of countless genres of music and massive orchestration. The World/Inferno Friendship Society’s latest disc combines an impressive array different styles and moods ranging from upbeat piano pop to full on orchestral sections. The interesting part is that the mash up results in one of the most ambitious releases of the year and an undeniably cohesive progressive punk rock opera worthy of listen upon listen.

The Inferno teamed up with director Jay Scheib to create the operetta based on the life of Peter Lorre. Told through his eyes, the disc is a concept of sorts about alienation, the twentieth century and a fall from grace through a battle with addiction. The theatrics work their way into the sound in more ways than just the telling of the story. Without even knowing the grander scale of the album, a listen through will bring to mind images and over the top sounds suited for the stage. Frontman Jack Terricloth paints wonderful imagery while simultaneously showing off a broad vocal range tailored to keep up with every twist and turn the band throws at him. Often times his voice can sound like Murder By Death’s Adam Turla (see “With A Good Criminal Heart”) and at others his dramatic voice sounds as if he is commanding his band mates such as in the circus march of “And Embarked On A Life Of Poverty”. Addicted To Bad Ideas, more or less, follows a chronological timeline describing the life and times of our tragic-comic antihero, but the method in which it is sung is incredibly original and runs the gamut of emotion. Who would have thought the life of such a troubled individual could possibly be so damn catchy and upbeat? The vocal melodies are unique and the female background vocals blend perfectly so as not to sound like a gimmick. Every single line sounds meticulously crafted in grandiosity in order to realize the massive vision of the band and director,

The music is where Addicted To Bad Ideas really thrives. There is something for everyone on the disc, plain and simple. The 9 piece collective can achieve sounds normally suited for a much bigger production or orchestra without losing the sound of the independent rock scene. Typically when bands incorporate massive orchestration into their sound, it can either sound amazing or pretentious and forced, The World/Inferno Friendship Society certainly fit into the first category. No part of this album, despite it’s enormous ambition and scope, sounds the slightest bit out of place. The fifties swing of “Ich Erinnere Mich An Die Weimarer Republik” wouldn’t sound out of place on a Bruce Springstein record and, oddly enough, is followed by the completely different sound and twinkling piano of “I Just Make Faces”. This is an album, but with the amount of material covered in each piece, every song can stand alone as it’s own distinctive piece of the story, both lyrically and musically.

To be honest, I expected something big from the band based on their past work, but I did not expect to be blown away. I was dead wrong. With certain songs, I found myself enjoying genres of music that I previously would have turned my back on. Saxophone solos sounding cool? Damn right. The World/Inferno Friendship Society ooze a cool sense of style and maintain a sound true to their vision without seeming pretentious. In fact, Addicted To Bad Ideas is oddly endearing and one can only imagine what it will sound and look like live. In the meantime, the band has produced an incredibly complete full length that proves that an album can unite drama and indie rock in a theatric production sure to merit a standing ovation.

1. Peter Lorre Overture
2. With A Good Criminal Heart
3. "M" Is For Morphine
4. And Embarked On A Life Of Poverty
5. Ich Erinnere Mich An Die Weimarer Republik
6. I Just Make Faces
7. Everybody Comes To Rick's
8. Cathy Catharine
9. Thumb Cinema
10. Addicted To Bad Ideas
11. Heart Attack '64