Thursday, 2 August 2012

Review: General Fiasco - Unfaithfully Yours

 It seems that my unending browsing of iTunes and Spotify and checking "Related Artists" sections for various hook-laden indie bands I've come to love so well has left me being unable to avoid the recurrence of certain bands I may not have known before. This is never necessarily a band thing. For example, the continuous effort made by Bellaghy quartet General Fiasco to latch onto all alternative bands I know has given me no choice but to check them out properly with their second album Unfaithfully Yours.

 In all seriousness, General Fiasco has raised their profile in more ways than sticking their names to other artists. Non stop touring around the UK with the likes of Kids In Glass Houses, The Enemy, The Pigeon Detectives and Jet have found them with legions of fans already. And one can note with total confidence and assurance that it is definitely this desire for playing live that has fueled the principles of this album.

 Since the influx of Biffy Clyro, the notion of indie rock music being played with beefed up riffs is not a weird notion, particularly with the heights of success that Twin Atlantic, We Are the Ocean and Lower Than Atlantis have achieved over the past few months. But with General Fiasco, the strength that guitarists Enda Strathern and Stuart Bell smash out their riffs with still feels like something totally fresh and mind-blowing. I suppose a reason for this descends that from the outset, General Fiasco don't seem like a band that fans of the Biff would catch onto. With their overriding sense of casualness and buoyancy, you could imagine them being loved by fans of Tribes, Dry the River or The Vaccines - God, I hate The Vaccines - albeit, it's that variation of music beefed up so the volume and levels of distortion rides on 11. And it's a fantastic proposition for an album.

 And with this charged up riffage, wonders are created throughout Unfaithfully Yours. Tracks like Gold Chains and Bad Habits boast some of the most colossal and most triumphant hooks of the year and while having a generally warm and inviting tone displayed throughout them but at the same time, you could headbang to these tunes like a loon.

 And that's what makes their songs very interesting, there's a lot of variation in the kind of reaction the band would have the ability to create. I imagine going to a General Fiasco show would be one of the most fun experiences of recent times. The melodies of Waves and The Age You Start Losing Friends, a song that sounds like modern day Kings of Leon, if modern day Kings of Leon were any good, have an instantly danceable spark in them and one could picture people gently swaying to the stirring basslines, and at the same time, the guitar work and forceful, yet melodic performance of Owen Strathern would manage to command a moshpit. Well, as much as a moshpit as you can get at an indie rock show. (Sorry Kasabian, you can try all you want to start a pit, but you know that they'll just take place naturally at an In Flames show.)

 Their is more variation on hand throughout the album than simple pounding rock songs. The melancholic tones of Hollows and for-once-decent-piano-ballad This Is Living are played out with a genuine amount of pathos which displays as much a sense of wizened urgency as it does laid back sadness that has an effortless charm that makes you want to really root by their side and take in their messages with a real level of focus and examination.

 The first thing I can say about this album is it's one of the many albums that proves the theory that hyped up bands are always overrated is wrong. In fact I could actually picture this band becoming underrated in some respects, as many will probably move on as soon as another indie rock bands come along. I mean, it's been a while since NME have said anything about Tribes right? But if any band out of this new wave of sophisticated indie rock lot are built for longevity, it has to be General Fiasco. The amount of strength, yet catchiness in the music they have created is an undying sign of musical victory. And I can only hope their future reflects the brightness of this victory.

General Fiasco's Unfaithfully Yours is out now via Dirty Hit.

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