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Album Review

The fifth full-length release by art-punk collective World/Inferno Friendship Society is just as enjoyable and intermittently frustrating as their other albums, but Red-Eyed Soul finds the Brooklyn-based outfit both mellowing slightly and moving tentatively into more commercial waters. Opening track and first single "Brother of the Mayor of Bridgewater" is a straight-up pop song that, with its infectious horn riffs and scat-sung chorus, would have fit comfortably on Dexy's Midnight Runners' Searching for the Young Soul Rebels. It's followed by the even more accessible and catchy "Velocity of Love," which has — no kidding — actual hit single potential, like with radio play and everything, and "Your Younger Man," is a dead ringer for Look Sharp!-era Joe Jackson, right down to the pissed-off sneer in Jack Terricloth's lead vocal. After that, things settle into more familiar territory, mixing big-band ska riffs with '70s punk guitars and Terricloth's arch vocal style and sardonic, politically charged and historically minded lyrics. The aforementioned frustrations come on songs like "Only Anarchists Are Pretty," which stretches out a clever lyric and catchy tune about two-full minutes too long, and the 30-second acoustic toss-off "Please My Favorite Don't Be Sad," which strands a promising song in a barely finished state. For longterm fans, there's the minor annoyance that the album's 15 tracks include the entirety of 2005's Speak of Brave Men and Me Vs. Angry Mob EPs. Those nits aside, Red-Eyed Soul is a breakthrough for the planet's most confusingly named band, one that puts the group at an interesting artistic crossroads between their anarchic punk roots and the '80s pop sheen that covers this album's most interesting songs.


Formed: Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The World/Inferno Friendship Society can best be described as a gang rather than an actual band. The group is a rotating cabaret of punk/ska/gospel featuring horns, piano, punk rock guitar, a number of percussionists, and a mayhem-inducing live presence. The Brooklyn, NY, collective started in the late '90s and has seen over 30 members move through their ranks. Usually you can expect to see about nine or ten members on-stage when they perform. The World/Inferno Friendship Society released their debut...
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