Sunday, March 20, 2011

The World/Inferno Friendship Society - 'The Anarchy and The Ecstasy'

It’s been four years since the last World/Inferno Friendship Society album, Addicted to Bad Ideas. After all that anticipation, The Anarchy and The Ecstasy needed to be huge. Luckily, it’s every bit as catchy and fun as previous W/IFS releases. It’s a little bit slower, but the hooks are still huge and the lyrics are still ridiculously maudlin in the best of ways. The Society is back, thankfully.

I’m interested to see how fans react to the record, though. Anarchy generally sounds like an Inferno release, in that Jack Terricloth’s outsize personality still dominates and the music is still in the punk rock cabaret vein. But there are still some tweaks to the formula that separate Anarchy from previous releases. These songs are slower. Some, like “Thirteen Years Without Peter King,” start off like a whisper. Bassist Sanda Malak and pianist Raja Najib Azar play a larger role. Indeed, the biggest hooks come from female lips this time around.

The album is much more horn-laden in a Hunky Dory sense. The horns provide extra badassery on opener “I Am Sick of People Being Sick of My Shit,” but they create a wall of dissonance on “They Talk of Nora’s Badness.” Yet the record isn’t all noise, opting for a slightly slower approach. That’s not to say songs like “Shit” or “The Politics of Passing Out” would clash with older material live, but the record definitely marks a new phase in the Society’s sound.

At only 34 minutes, Anarchy feels a little too short, but only because each song segues into the next so nicely. By the time “The Mighty Raritan” provides an acoustic comedown to the riotous “The Apple Was Eve” [Side note: The way the band sings “I will spit on your grave when the winter comes” is awesome], I’m already restarting the record. Replayability is certainly a strength, but part of me wishes Inferno would try making another double album on par with Red-Eyed Soul. Still, Anarchy is a fine addition to the group’s discography, and a welcome return. 2011 continues to be overstuffed with gems, it seems.

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