- The Fatty Acids
- Leftover Monsterface
- B- Community Grade
Against all odds, The Fatty Acids’ second full-length—which arrives just over a year after their debut—is neither a hasty rehash nor an unfocused departure. Instead, Leftover Monsterface manages to be quite different from Stop Berries, Berries And Berries, Berries while still retaining the band’s definitive sound. The new album is less polished in terms of production and hooks—and it’s a little weirder—but it widens the group’s sonic scope and doesn’t rob fans of anything they would miss.
The first thing that pops out as different is the unnerving guitar riff on the album’s opening track, “Creature.” It’s an early indication of a darker side of the band than fans are used to. A minimal drum pattern expands and develops over the verses and explodes during the chorus—which evokes early Police with its frantic harmonies—and is followed by a blood-pumping synth/guitar death race. For a lead-off single, it’s not very commercial-sounding, but all the essential Fatty elements are in place.
There’s nothing as instantly catchy on the album as Berries’ “Hiroshima” or “Astrovan,” but “Oven Mitts” comes close. It’s one of several instances where bleating horns add a creepy levity to the proceedings. Likewise, the trippy carnie-waltz of “Argentinian Mistresses” lightens the mood somewhat, though Monsterface is still serious conceptual music; there’s nothing tossed-off about it. Despite frequently thrilling vocal harmonies and ebullient choruses, there’s a prickly undercurrent to everything on the album that never allows listeners to feel completely at ease.
The Fatty Acids smoosh even the most disjointed instrumentation (the end of “Memory Banks,” for instance) into satisfying pop music, and even the brief vignettes can’t be called filler. “Year Of Dairy Products From The American Heartland” is both beautiful and disorienting, and it’s merely an interlude between more fully realized slabs of scattered scramble-pop, brilliantly arranged and performed with an urgency that makes the roughshod drumming and untamed vocals seem appropriate. As abrasive and devoid of ear candy as it is, Leftover Monsterface could prove more durable than Berries, if only because there’s more to discover.
(The Fatty Acids celebrate the release of Leftover Monsterface tonight at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn.)