Review Summary: Failure with another success
Time to revisit those end of year lists quick, Failure are back with another grungy, alt-rock classic.
Failure’s sound has changed album to album somewhat, though they have all still maintained a few core elements and I’d say on this latest album they take the best of everything they’ve done and put it all in one place perfectly. They’ve also managed to sound like themselves with those huge low bass sounds, dissonant picked guitars and big grungy choruses and they did this without needing to throw in another set of ‘Segues’ which we’ve had on the last couple of albums following in the footsteps of their biggest critical success ‘Fantastic Planet’.
I personally felt like the last couple of albums felt like trying to recreate their lightening in a bottle moment, not necessarily in style but in the grandeur around them and with Segues breaking up sections whereas on this new album, they use different paced songs to break things up a bit and keep the album feeling fresh at all times.
The singles got me very excited for a return to form and are probably the two best stand alone tracks on the album. Headstand has a real Fantastic Planet vibe with that bassy rumble, dissonant guitar lead and a haunting vocal track and Submarines is the most straightforward rocker here that could even fit in back in their Magnified days. Whilst I think these are the standout tracks when played alone, there are loads of gems found elsewhere too.
The link between the singles, A Lifetime Of Joy, has a Radiohead feel, very open and delicate before a hard snare kicks back into the grunge of Submarines. Bring Back the Sound takes the trademark Failure picked guitar to a new level with some additional synth production and a vocal hook later on that makes it feel like Mastodon’s more mellow vibes. Long Division is also another track where the vocals feel a bit different. A vocal performance that feels very passionate and makes me think of The Killers over a track that feels almost like a Failure power ballad the way it builds up whilst being unmistakably, Failure.
Overall, I think this is their best album since Fantastic Planet, an unexpected late gem to end 2021!