Eighteen years ago, an alternative space rock group released one of the most uniquely impactful cult classics. And in recent fortunate news, that band has reunited to reveal a much anticipated follow-up album. Failure’s The Heart Is A Monster will hit shelves on June 30th via INresidence. Multi-instrumentalist Greg Edwards stated, “Thematically we’ve moved from the outer space of Fantastic Planet to inner space. From the dislocation of one’s identity to the complete erasing of it by sleep and dreams. I think we’ve used instrumentation in the service of mood and emotion to an even greater degree than on Fantastic Planet.” You can read Alternative Nation’s review of Failure’s The Heart is a Monster below.
Alarms of melodic dissonance generate the atmosphere of “Segue 4”, a continued instrumental theme of Fantastic Planet. As the whirring synths finally align into cohesion along with bass and drums, the adhesive hooks of the single “Hot Traveler” soar amongst the voluntary harmonies. “A.M. Amnesia” launches a wall of sound, which delicately evolves into a series of noisy verses. To settle the guitar-heavy tones previously presented, “Snow Angel” offers a light touch with acoustical polyphonies. “Atom City Queen” presents the group’s abrasive nature with a highly-distorted guitar battling the grinding bass.
Calming strings of “Segue 5” transition to “Counterfeit Sky,” boasting a solid hook that gracefully skews the quirky, whimsical rhythms. Originally composed in 1992, the updated version of “Petting the Carpet” sounds light years more fresh and compelling with alluring vocals gently pulling you farther into the psychedelia. The trip winds down as Pink Floyd-esque piano work concocts the “Mulholland Dr.” dreamscape. Keeping you on your toes, “Fair Light Era” is a punchy shift to a more riff-centric world. After yet another segue, “Come Crashing,” formerly from the Tree of Stars EP, stack airy keyboard leads over a digestible song structure for a solid track.
The serenity contained within “Segue 7” is jolted back as “The Focus” delivers a hefty handful of hard rocking jabs. While perhaps not holding the most experimental or catchy qualities, “Otherwhere,” still serves as a significant cog in the eccentric clockwork. A resonance of sleep induction-like timbre is conveyed for “Segue 8”, setting the mood for the modestly rich tonalities of “I Can See Houses.” Some may claim an ambient instrumental as a closer track would drift towards the anti-climactic side of the spectrum, but “Segue 9” is a simply fitting conclusion to this modern day audio odyssey.
In the same vein that one does not simply glance at the stars without a passionate gaze of wonder and curiosity, one could not lend an ear to Failure’s musical compositions without being consumed in the galactic layers of melodious bliss. As is true with previous releases, this album is meant to be swallowed as a whole in order to fully become submerged within the dynamic cosmic setting. The Heart is a Monster is a reckoning force that achieves success as a comeback and a glorious landmark in the evolution in alternative and space rock. I dare anyone to not get lost in this album.
Overall score: 9 out of 10
You can click here to pre-order Failure’s The Heart is a Monster on iTunes