Review Summary: Album of the year, from the band with the most tragically ironic name ever.Failure
is the perfect example of an underground band that never gets the attention it deserves - this can be taken as ill-fated, sure, because they’re definitely one of the 90’s most enthralling rock bands. However, their obscurity can also be interpreted as what makes them so endearing and excellent. Keeping expectations low and the music consistently great, Failure
has finally released a record that showcases the apex of their ability - a record that is as superb as it is fascinating.
The Californian trio’s name is quite the misnomer, and even their fifth record’s title does a number on the tongue. Another potential disservice is the fact that 75% of the record was released prematurely in the form of EP’s. This may provoke some hostility from fans who think this is an ineffective and disjointed way of releasing a record. However, frontman Ken Andrews sees it as a way to impress and excite the fans with Failure’s
dynamic and exquisite sonic palette. And honestly, it’s quite a genius way of marketing your fifth record, especially when it’s this darn good. In The Future...
(I won’t even try to say the whole thing) comes together as much more than a sum of its glorious four parts; it’s an anthology of the band’s evolution from their mechanical, embryonic debut Comfort
to their critically-acclaimed stunners such as Fantastic Planet
and their most recent success, 2015’s The Heart Is A Monster
kicks off the 62-minute epic in excellent fashion; featuring a thick bassline, sprawling feedback and an automated drumbeat, the groove of the song is immense and quickly registered, atop with lush acoustic guitar passages and inversely distorted melodies. It’s an anomaly, but it’s a brilliant example of announcing how this record is atypical for Failure
, but still superb nonetheless. The record is filled with strikingly different textures and subgenres of Failure
’s mastery of space-rock, yet what is common among each track is the extremely high quality. You get high-quality acoustic pieces like Pennies
, you get blistering rockers such as Solar Eyes
and Found A Way
, and you get a cinematic closer in the form of The Pineal Electorate
, which is the perfect curtain call for this monster of a record.
Aided by top-notch production, In The Future...
also features meticulous ambient segues, a tradition started from Failure’s
landmark album Fantastic Planet
, which do a great job of tying the whole record together with their mystique. In terms of standouts, the record’s got quite a few, most notable of which are the incredibly spacey songs Paralytic Flow
, Heavy and Blind
and Apocalypse Blooms
, each of which could be a serious contender for song of the year.
The record’s theme, as described by frontman Ken Andrews, describes the consequences of “the surrogate reality of the internet” and how we’re prisoners of advanced technology. The theme is a bit heavy-handed, sure, but never oversteps itself as the lyrics of each song are abstract and open to interpretation; something that many artists should incorporate into their music (I’m looking at you, Matthew Bellamy). However, the lyrics are clearly not the focal point on this record - that is helmed by the marvelous, shapeshifting music.
’s ironic misnomer may cause many to not check out their 2018 masterpiece, but anyone who’s a fan of the band and wants to be impressed yet again, or any fan of superb music, should definitely check this one out. It’s a near-perfect record, and a perfect example of a band staying true to its roots while experimenting adequately to keep things fresh and alluring. Encore, you tragic superstars.
Heavy and Blind