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Album review: I Set My Friends On Fire- "Astral Rejection"

I Set My Friends On Fire
I Set My Friends On Fire
Jeff Gross

If anyone ever thought that all bands take themselves too seriously, they need look no further than I Set My Friends On Fire to shatter that thought in to a million pieces. I Set My Friends On Fire are less serious about the music they make than Charlie Sheen would be as the poster boy for abstinence. On the band's second full-length album, "Astral Rejection," the band take their mockery of the hardcore and screamo scene to an all new level.

It's obvious that ISMFOF are not a serious band. One needs to look no further than the album art and song titles to see that. The cover has some sort of mermaid/alien monster sitting on a throne with diamon-encrusted wheels. The album features song titles like, "My Paralyzed Brother Taps His Foot To This Beat" and "Erectangles." It all looks about as serious at a clown at a child's birthday party.

One thing about I Set My Friends On Fire is that no one could possibly accuse them of lacking creativity, Their problem is that they are trying to work with too much at the same time. For a band that openly mocks the hardcore/screamo genre, they have gone far beyond the conventions of the genre. The result sounds like a schizophrenic on speed playing with music samples from every genre and generation, and forcing them together like misfit puzzle pieces. There's bits and pieces of other music genres in there, all held together loosely by a lot of screaming.

As easy as it is to declare this album to be a bad one, one has to realize that ISMFOF never intended for this album to be a good one. Therefore, it probably turned out exactly the way they wanted it- the album is pretty much unlistenable. It's the sort of album that if it were ever to be played at a party, the party guests would all pack up and leave. There is a lot of screaming, a lot of synthesizers, and a lot of headaches. It is the musical equivalent of watching a tornado destroy a large city. It has no coherence, and often settles for lots of screaming to cover up the musical chaos that runs rampant throughout the album. Or worse- the autotuned clean vocals, which prove one thing about the band: they do not have an ear for tune, but they have a great ear for destruction.

While it is interesting to hear from a band like I Set My Friends On Fire, one can't help but realize that it would be less of a waste of time to listen to the more serious bands they mock than to take another listen to "Astral Rejection."