Review Summary: If you like pure, unadulterated, immature fun with legitimate musical sustenance and inventiveness...this might just be for you.
Take a look at that band name for a second. The Flaming Tsunamis
. Now gaze upon the title of this 5-song EP. Zombies Versus Robots!
. There are two ways the casual listener can judge this bombastic book-cover, either as utterly immature and juvenile, or fu
cking badass. In terms of actual quality, a parallel can be drawn from these first impressions. It’s been made pretty clear that the six-piece band does not take themselves entirely seriously - a chosen path which can lead to an either laughably awful product, or a positively rip-roaring good time. The Flaming Tsunamis have enough sustenance and originality to fall into the latter category.
Hailing from New Haven, Connecticut, The Flaming Tsunamis take influence from a myriad of contrasting genres. The general sound however, can best be described as a marriage of bittersweet ska-punk and kick-to-the-face-hardcore. It’s an interesting combination to say the least, but the blending of separate genres and influences is done so seamlessly that it’s a wonder that it hasn’t been done more often.
Zombies Versus Robots!
is five songs long, and clocks in at just under 18-minutes. Despite the disappointingly short run-time, (it as an EP after all) the band was entirely successful in including enough variety on the album without it sounding like a complete cluster***. Each of the five songs are easily distinguishable, original, and a complete blast to listen to. Album opener Dead Girlfriends Can’t Break Up With You
is a minute and a half of classic hardcore, complete with comical lyrics and backed by some sinister dirge-sounding horns. On the other end of the spectrum, the title-track is a tastefully done folk ditty which would not sound out of place at a boy scout troop’s campfire. The track spins a harrowing tale of the Zombie/Robot wars, complete with jolly vocal performances from each of the band members as they describe a typical day for each side in the war.
I rise from the grave when the dead start to walk
And I grab zombie Dave and say it’s time to ROCK
We zombies are hungry and it’s time to stalk
The robots are coming our way!
Despite the juvenile, yet at times downright hilarious lyrics, any English teacher could would be sure to point on the satirical parallels between the song lyrics and the general stupidity of war. It’s so bitingly sarcastic at times, it could be considered war propaganda, in the most delicious way possible I might add. Perhaps there’s deeper meaning behind the outer immature shell?
The other three songs on the album tend to fall somewhere in between the hardcore opener and the folksy title track. Refuse to Die
, the most popular and arguably the strongest track on the album, starts deceptively with a very smooth, lounge-jazz instrumental backing a faux-news report describing some typical Zombie shenanigans. At 1:20 the free-jazz comes to an abrupt halt: a jagged hornline enters, followed by a blistering riff and some aggressive, lively screams. The song continues switching between Reel Big Fish-esque ska verses and pissed-off metallic choruses before climaxing with all-guns blaring. Cancer Swing
begins with a tom-friendly drum-solo from Zombie Dave in swung time, before the rest of the band enters. The song sounds a hell of a lot like if a 50’s big band decided to play hardcore punk with gritty Mike Patton-esque vocals. Finally, Opus
ends the EP as a summation of the previous 13 minutes, complete with aggressive fist-pumping choruses, island-ska interludes, and a hammond organ solo.
It’s an unfortunately short listen, but 18 minutes of ska-core proves to be ultimately satisfying. Zombies Versus Robots!
coherently marries two very different genres into one solid product. The band is obviously having a hell of a time, why not share some of that juvenile glory? Recommended for all people who like having fun.