Review Summary: One of the few bands around that still seem interested in innovating.2 of 2 thought this review was well written
It seems as though punk bands rarely take cues from other genres, or at least not any cues really worth taking. Sure, every decade or so there’s a metal infusion that results in even harder hardcore, and on the other end we put up with pop-punk, then power-pop, and so on. But genuine and worthwhile fusion is almost unheard of. Enter the World/Inferno Friendship Society. These eccentric Brooklynites draw from big band swing, Peter Lorre movies, and memories of Weimar Germany, welding it to their authentic punk attitude and fondness for rocking out and blacking out.
Of course, all this only demarcates World/Inferno as unique and ambitious. Their execution makes them must-listen music. Frontman Jack Terricloth has one of the smoothest and sexiest voices I’ve ever heard, and pens lyrics so thoughtful you almost forget that they’re all about anarchism and shoplifting. Behind him the horns, keyboard, and guitar coalesce into a melodic force that never seems to play a superfluous note or filler phrase. No instruments stand out particularly, which in this case is surely a mark of maturity rather than lack of technicality.
But enough with the long-winded introductions and praises… what do their songs actually sound like? About half the tracks are upbeat and dance- or sing-along worthy. Take “Your Younger Man”, with its meandering accordion-driven verse and bouncing mini-climaxes. Or “Only Anarchists Are Pretty”, a mid-tempo’d track that marks easily the longest song here (over 5 minutes), but not only never drags, but actually manages never to have an instant that isn’t totally infectious.
Other offerings are more intense, like “Paul Robeson”, which sports a xylophone of all instruments alongside a more Jimmy Page-esque guitar part. “Fiend in Wien” and “Me V Angry Mob” both showcase Mr. Terricloth’s storytelling talents and emotive vocals while demanding what we might call “friendly moshing”. “So Long to the Circus” makes for a fitting and energetic closer, being another track where the horns take something of a back seat in favor of anthemic and distorted choruses.
As fun as this album is, I find it equally therapeutic. Lyrics like “Let us now speak of the brave men who lived their lives just as they would have it” just do it for me. This is one of those CDs where a failure to come out a better, more interesting person indicates serious character flaws. Usually albums this powerful come off as pretentious and inaccessible, but these words are out of place entirely for Red Eyed Soul. And though most of their fans may identify as punk, this is truly a disc for people who just love music.