The Flaming Tsunamis - Fear Everything
Release Date: September 26th, 2006
Record Label: Kill Normal Records
Perhaps the only occasion more burdensome than detecting material so generic, and surely a clone of forty similar albums in your personal collection, is the challenge one may face whilst designing feeble attempts to analyze an act boasting with refusal at the thought of being pigeonhold. In the case of New Haven, Connecticut's experimental, ska-core sextet, The Flaming Tsunamis, may critics and analysts alike prepare themselves for the backbreaking latter, and in turn, one of the most difficile duties one may ever encounter.
Thankfully, however, since my birth, I've cherished the notion that genres are no more substantial than a name tag plastered to an ironed, collared shirt at a business expedition; a marvelous means of introducing oneself in an inaudible manner, yet worthless when those very initiations have indeed come to pass. Thus, with all babbling aside, how do The Flaming Tsunamis fare in comparison to their congruent subordinates? Fortunately for these musicians, who appear glued to the recipe for unrivalled experiementation, few competitors exist. Yet, while The Flaming Tusnamis' blueprint may appear rather obscure in comparison to modern rock radio frontrunners, The Flaming Tsunamis expel an eplicit aptness for intricate time signatures, unique style collaborations, and certainly sheer intensity. With their fourth, full-length release, Fear Everything, the group amplifies their uncommon amalgamation of blistering hardcore, danceable ska foundations, and ferocious screams, all the while surpassing any expectations set for the act prior to indulgement.
The release, which discloses itself with "The Ritalin Conspiracy", a disorderly, anthemic composition filled with jazz-inspired horn arrangements, sets itself off on a brutal foot, as lead vocalist Andy Tabar punishes listeners' ears with his, for lack of a better word, blood-curdling screams. The act's conversions are unpredictable, namely from one vastly contrastive grain to another, as the musicians continuously propel the number from scorching ferocity, to light-hearted, earnest harmonies. On "Bird Watching and Vice Versa", the release's manic-paced second track, the band's horn ensemble, which consists of saxophonist John Ryan and trombonist Logan Labarbera, showcases their incontestable competence for well-structured arrangements. However, truthfully, while the patterns are generally rather exhilarating, the most captivating mark the brass outfit bears is the crystal-clear comfort level found within their performances, most notably atop a gut-wrenching, bloodthirsty foundation. On the record's title track, "Fear Everything", which is oddly reminiscent of a pep rally aimed at stimulating enthusiasm one might find in Mel Gibson's 1995 battle-cry, Braveheart, The Flaming Tsunamis enthuse their audience with yet another gusty hybrid of vicious screams and stern rhythms, though on this occasion drawing more heavily from the likes of Fear Before the March of Flames rather than the Blue Meanies. On "If You Really Love Me", the group's self-proclaimed "ode to zombie love", Tabar chaperones the act through a file of dynamic brass displays, forceful rhythm, and genial guitar work. The track's lyrics, while quite absurd, and rather terrifying, as Tabar requests "If you really love me, let me eat your brains", are charismatic in their own right, and the composition itself is undoubtedly one of The Flaming Tsunamis' most luminous efforts to date.
The album's second half opens in a familiar, uncombed fashion with "Satan vs. The United States of America", a hardcore-laced, punk-rock song bound with elegant ska undertones. On the album's ninth track, "World of Chaos", The Flaming Tsunamis steadily dislocate themselves from the offering's introduction, which is abnormally reminiscent of the early polka classics commonly swaying from my grandfather's record player, into their exclusive, albeit typical, brand of anarchic hardcore ska. While many may cringe at the very thought of two exceedingly contradistinctive genres meshed into one, and I myself will admit to a sense of conscious anxiety, the Connecticut sextet performs rather heartily, though equally as merciful. On "Weaug, Teaug, Peaug (The Powder of Life)", the group opts to put their controlled chaos on hold, as listeners indulge themselves in what is certainly the album's most delicate offering, and coincidentally one of the most delectable. The track, which is built upon a breezy, reggae-inspired foundation, is stuffed with level-headed horn arrangements and a civil flow courtesy of guitarist Greg Teschendorf, bassist Ethan DeAngelus, and drummer Craig Berndt.
Yet, while Fear Everything certainly concludes itself on a fantastic note, one can't help but rid themself of the miniscule thought that the New Haven outfit will always, or at least for the time being, be examined as a fish out of water. Though, with no parallel competitors to collect advice from, and no form of aged wisemen, whose mishaps are unwillingly designed to act as octagonal caution signs, what is one destined to expect? Whatever the answer to that very question may be, The Flaming Tsunamis have certainly delivered a parcel with it's sights set high, and while alike any it comes stamped with it's visible flaws, may they be the often indecipherable lyrics, or the routine overabundance of chaos, a pat or two on the back is in order, and with that, consider this critic satisfied.