REVIEW – Future History – Loss:/Self
MONDAY, AUGUST 6, 2012 AT 8:00AM
Politeness is a lost art, people don’t use it, they lose it, and then it flutters away by the wayside. A trend Future History, a five-piece experimental rock band from Toronto, hopes to upend with their first full-length album, Loss:/Self. The first words uttered on the album are “Hello, welcome, what brings you here?” A noble question, welcomed by a thundering bass line sautéed over a driving six-minute intro song “Ornamental State” that finds vocalist Kevin Ker channeling the vocal whine of fellow Canadian Colin Meloy (Decemberists, Tarkio).
If Meloy were to ever join a Pink Floyd tribute band, you’d harness the sound of Future History. Self described as; “psychedelic love noise” wide assortments of arraignments are accompanied with urgent hooks and revolving percussion to capture a complete rock journey. This is not an album to buy in $1 dollar increments, song-by-song. That’d be like hiking the base of the Appalachians and looking at pictures from on goers taken from the apex. Poetry best digested in full, time and time again—a rare delight in the digital age.
Loss:/Self is a testament to pinpoint themes interwoven throughout an album that was intended to be a conceptual. It certainly digests that way. According to the band it, “eludes to the human relationship; technology, social or anti-social media, fear and the growth and dominance of the false ego over the true self.” That is certainly a relatable handful of quandaries to ponder in 2012.
My favorite part of this sound is the richness that unfolds from song to song. The album cover tells a tale of grayness, a road, and the inevitable country warm and tingly feeling you get by the sight of whizzing telephone poles. A feeling in the past perpetuated by Muse in Origins of Symmetry and this time around the Canadians aim for a plentiful bounty of emotional resonance. It’s deep, but accessible at the same time.
If you think I’m spouting grandiose drivel, let me back the sound up with impactful statistics. Loss:/Self was recorded over an eight-month span including stops in Montreal, New York City and other various locations in Ontario. The New York span was during (over-hyped?) hurricane Irene and the three-day weekend of chaos that ensued while the band was stuck in New York City. They used over 40 instruments and household items, including but not limited to a 35-person stomp/gang vocal/drum circle orchestra, and a sample of a whale, which consequently was on a wrong frequency ostracizing her from the other whales. A well documented story that seems too ridiculously progressive rock, not to be a fabrication.
Sounds ponderous? Yes, but, in a good way. In a way that says to me, “these guys were on a mission to create something truly monumental.”
The true genius of any concept worthy, axle-to-axle album, is the placement of the singles. Future History marked tracks six and seven, or “(Don’t) Let This Go” and “Surrounded by Faces” as listening points to the curious listener (that’s how I define singles these days). This is directly in the middle of the album. Again, not meant to be single driven, but even Tommy had “Pinball Wizard!?”
“Surrounded by Faces” is a folk-less version of the Decemberists without a doubt. It reminds me of a game I used to play in college. Mind you, this was back around 2002, when everyone loved Weezer and downloading music was an everyday pastime, with the exuberance of anything technologically fresh. I would bring people into my room and tell them I had located some new Weezer cuts. I would play Ozma. People would get excited and ask me to send it to them. I laughed for hours and hours to myself. Ahhhhhh, those were the days.
“(Don’t) Let This Go” is a mid-tempo rock song that uses the effect of a slow roasting chorus. It reminds me of “Alice Childress” by Ben Folds Five with the deliciousness of that “tsss…ahh” sound Sussie Essman makes in Curb Your Enthusiasm when she takes a drink. It’s the kind of song I’d want to play at the end of a wine party, before going to play darts at a local pub. Something that kind of fades in the background, but holds a distinct, yet passive sonic fortitude.
Loss:/Self is a remarkable statement for a band so early in their career. Bands typically attempt moves of similar grandiose nature when they get older, and bored, but for Future History it’s the start of something overwhelmingly beautiful. Adhere to my words: must have, must listen, must enjoy with a movie theater attention span. It’s a full multi-course meal amongst a sea of tapas.
Eat up, psychedelic rockers!
Future History Official – Facebook – Twitter – Bandcamp -
Was this post as delicious to taste as it was to write? Read more meandering musings concerning music (and sports) from Ryan C. Zerfas…here!
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