soldiers

Soldiers of Fortune were convened over a decade ago by indie rock lifer Brad Truax with a list of rules (no writing, rehearsing, recording, touring) to ensure minimum exposure. Now on their second album, the self-proclaimed “anti-band” have all but ditched their situationist jam band ethics for – gasp – properly structured songs.

For a group featuring members of Oneida and Chavez, ‘Early Risers’ is an unexpectedly loose affair, full of bloozy bravado and smirking lyrics. Still, the real draw here is likely to be the guest vocalists; Kid Millions demonstrates his secret cockrocking aspirations on opener ‘Nails’, an onslaught of dusty krautrockin’ rifferama, while Stephen Malkmus instigates (then swiftly abandons) a new dance craze on ‘Campus Swagger’.

So while it’s cool to hear Matt Sweeney and co. let (what’s left of) their hair down, in between their more serious endeavours, too many tracks exhaust their one idea early, meandering on way past the point of interest; and so ‘Early Risers’ progresses. That said, the album saves its best for last with a demented three-chord thrasher called ‘Which’, featuring the Vic Chesnutt-gone-gothic vocals of one Clark “Yeremias” Bronson. It sounds like Ween sending up the Bad Seeds, and it marks the one moment where the listener finally feels in on the joke. Let’s call it The Desert Sessions for the ATP set.

dot

« Previous Album