Fans of the veteran ska-rock band got a big surprise this week when the band released its new album Until This Shakes Apart. Released Friday with no prior announcement, the 13-song record is the band’s first new album in more than seven years. It is a record that the band’s established fan base will find a welcome return from the group. That is proven in part through its musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical content adds its own share of appeal to the record. It will be discussed a little later. The sequencing of the noted content puts the finishing touch to the record’s presentation, bringing everything together. It will also be discussed later. Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make the album in whole a presentation that Five Iron Frenzy’s established fan base will enjoy just as much as any ska fan in general.
Seven years is a long time for a musical act of any genre to go without releasing any new music. On one hand, it leaves the noted act(s) with the concern of relevance. On another level, it leaves audiences wondering if said act(s) have any rust so to speak. Five Iron Frenzy has addressed both of those concerns in its new album Until This Shakes Apart. The 43-minute record assures listeners that not only is the band still relevant, but has not lost any of its shine either. That is proven in part through the album’s featured musical arrangements. The arrangements in question offer longtime audiences plenty to appreciate in the continued balance of its familiar ska leanings and its more punk-influenced work. ‘In Through The Out Door,’ the album’s opener gives the album a strong start. At the same time, it gives listeners that noted sense of familiarity with its expertly balanced ska and punk elements. ‘One Heart Hypnosis,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is another way in which the record’s expertly balanced ska and rock leanings presented. Again, the familiar ska elements are there, but they are presented more subtly against the more indie-pop sensibility of the song’s primary instrumentation this time out. The contrast in the two stylistic approaches here makes the song in whole another standout addition to the album. ‘Like Something I Missed,’ by comparison’ gives equal time to the band’s punk and ska leanings, making for an arrangement that while unique in its own right in the album’s bigger picture, a composition whose stylistic approach is still familiar for audiences. In other words, it is familiar in its stylistic approach, but still boasts a unique sound that doesn’t just re-hash that of the album’s other songs or even the band’s other works. Between this song, the others noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the record’s musical arrangements in whole reason enough for audiences to hear this album. The record’s musical content is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg that is Until This Shakes Apart. The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical content gives listeners even more reason to take in the record.
The lyrical content that is featured in Until This Shakes Apart is important to examine in the album’s overall picture because it is just as familiar to listeners as the album’s musical content. By and large, the record’s lyrical content presents some very socio-politically charged statements. The band takes on the powers that be right from the album’s outset in ‘In Through The Out Door.’ Going without a lyrics sheet to reference, much of the song’s content is difficult to decipher. However, the understandable mentions of civil disobedience and “your little gospel spewing hate” in the song’s chorus is clear enough that it does not take a genius to know that the band is addressing the current state of the nation (if not world). It is a topic that will always be relevant.
‘Bullfight for an Empty Ring’ also features the band’s familiar socio-politically charged lyrical content. The mention here in the song’s lead verse that “You can’t see the sun/’Cause oil pays the bankroll” is just one example of that strongly worded commentary. The mention of the ties between partisan politics and stock market shifts in the song’s second verse adds to that overall statement, and will resonate just as much with listeners. It echoes hints of the band’s existing commentaries, making for even more appeal in terms of the album’s lyrical content.
‘Tyrannis,’ which comes a little ways through the album’s run, is another key example of the band’s familiar socio-political commentary. This time the band seemingly takes on the hot button issue of the statues memorializing Confederate leaders that have been taken down nationwide. The song makes mention of the “stars and bars” and the KKK alongside mentions of memorializing certain people. That leaves one to make an educated assumption that the song does indeed center on that topic or something closely related to the matter. Considering this along with the content in the other examined songs and the rest of the album’s entries – some of which do also border on the topic of relationships – the overall lyrical presentation in this album proves to be just as strong as the album’s musical presentation. The sequencing of that collective content and brings everything together and makes the album’s presentation in whole even more convincing in its appeal.
The sequencing of Until This Shakes Apart ensures the lyrical content featured in this record does not get too monotonous, even with the overarching theme of socio-political commentary. At the same time, the energies in the album’s musical arrangements steady ad balanced throughout. ‘In Through The Out Door’ opens the album on a strong, up-tempo note. The energy continues on until the album reaches ‘Bullfight for an Empty Ring.’ What’s interesting is that while the energy pulls back, it is only because the stylistic approach is different. The overall energy is still positive, just more laid back. That pull back carries on through ‘Renegades.’ Tyrannis’ picks things back up. From there, the changes in the styles and energies is so subtle from one song to the next. That subtlety is just enough to keep listeners engaged, too, right to the album’s end. The stability and balance in the album’s energies and lyrical themes gives the record a positive aesthetic element that audiences will enjoy just as much as the content itself. Keeping all of that in mind, the album overall proves itself a presentation that ska fans and Five Iron Frenzy’s fans alike will find worth hearing.
Five Iron Frenzy’s new full-length studio recording Until This Shakes Apart is a positive new presentation that ska fans will enjoy just as much as the band’s established fan base. Each group will equally find the album a welcome return from the band. That is due in part to the album’s featured musical arrangements. The arrangements themselves feature some familiar stylistic approaches and sounds from the band. The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical content adds its own appeal to the presentation. That is because it is as familiar as the album’s musical content. The sequencing of that collective content brings everything together, putting the finishing touch to the album’s presentation. Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make the record a work that will appeal equally to the band’s fans and ska fans alike. The album is available now. More information on the record is available along with all of Five Iron Frenzy’s latest news at:
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