I Set My Friends on Fire – Astral Rejection
Record Label: Epitaph Records
Release Date: June 21st, 2011
I Set My Friends on Fire are essentially the greatest trolls of the music industry. It was pretty obvious with their debut, You Can't Spell Slaughter Without Laughter, but after the god awful taste left in the mouth of anyone who heard their infamous "Crank That" cover, it was nearly impossible to look at anything close to redeeming about the record.
Truthfully, there wasn't much. Songs like "Things That Rhyme With Orange" proved the band had capabilities to make music that didn't sound like live pigs going through a meat grinder, but as a whole, the record was embarrassing. Now that a few years have passed since the first album, perhaps people will begin to realize the point of I Set My Friends on Fire with the release of their sophomore effort, Astral Rejection. The best thing about their point though: there isn't one. I Set My Friends on Fire just kind of do whatever the hell they want, and they showcase that best on this album. From lyrics like "Cumming is one of my favorite things to do," to a song called "Erectangles," there is no way that they actually take themselves seriously.
It'll be a tough concept to grasp, but I Set My Friends on Fire improve on Astral Rejection. Granted, the grating screaming and breakdowns are still prevalent (and bad) as always, but the band's clean vocals are also very present. The clean vocals were really the only decent part of I Set My Friends on Fire, and the sole fact that it's in almost every song just makes it the better album by default. In "Developer, the Horn," no screaming is in it at all in fact, making it the easy standout of the album. It actually sounds like a song that Breathe Carolina would be jealous of, which is a bit sad when they're mainly trying to mock those types of bands anyway. Another notable includes the catchy single "It Comes Naturally." These tracks show that Astral Rejection has the ability to make a decent hook in what is otherwise a mess of an album. It's kind of like getting an STD and finding out it's curable chlamydia: It's better, but it still sucks.
I'm very well aware that joke music isn't an excuse to be crappy, just like being "nice dudes" isn't an excuse either. I'm definitely not trying to make it sound like a defense. However, it's clearer than ever that anyone listening to Astral Rejection and, for whatever reason, expect Van Morrison are going to come away confused, hurt, and possibly mentally dismantled. Does anybody watch Jackass movies to see an Academy Award winning performance? No, they watch it to see Steve-O use an enema and jump off of a building. The same mindset should be used here. The only true offense that I Set My Friends on Fire commits is giving future bands any ounce of influence, because none will come close to replicating anything that makes I Set My Friends on Fire worthy of a listen.
The last paragraph really explains it. I listened to their first album because it was crappy junky music that I sometimes found enjoyable ("Things That Rhyme With Orange" being, of course, the major highlight). I listened to one song on this one though, and it just sounds bad bad. I'll reserve judgement until I hear the album in its entirety though.
I actually enjoyed the first album and maybe few of the songs here, but I do not in any form look to this for any sort of inspiration. It's just them doing what they want and people should accept that (no matter how shitty they think it is).
the difference between I Set My Friends on Fire and bands like Brokencyde and Escape the Fate is that the former doesn't expect themselves to be taken seriously at all, which makes it hard to hate them as much.