Comprised of members of the Drones and High Tension, the Melbourne art-punk supergroup Tropical Fuck Storm are concerned with extremity in our culture – and refuse to take the easy way out. On their second album they have really honed their shtick, presenting a record thats extreme themes are echoed in its ragged, furious sonics.
TFS can wear a variety of hats (all of them pretty noisy) and make their previous groups seem, by comparison, a little dour. Title track ‘Braindrops’ is fantastic and a genuine progression, its description offered by frontman Gareth Liddiard as “Fela Kuti in a car crash” going some way to sum up its twitchy, funk-gone-wrong groove; sounding like Talking Heads after a week in captivity. ‘Paradise’ similarly is ambitiously disparate but still manages to sour.
So, to the lyrical content then. Genuine credit should go to TFS for wanting to tackle the present moment without looking for easy, self-congratulatory statements. The garage-funk of ‘Planet of Straw Men’ looks at the futility of online debate: “All paths lead to nowhere,” shrugs Liddiard, “and it all adds up to nothing”.
Closer ‘Maria 63’ looks at (deep breath) the Nazi occultist Maria Orsic, her book The Coming Race (namechecked in Bowie’s ‘Quicksand’) now having a bit of a moment again courtesy of the alt-right. ‘Maria 63’ makes a Lovecraftian short horror story from all of this – it’s weird, it’s messy, but crucially it’s a success. Holding their gaze firmly on the worst of us, TFS deliver an essential second album of strange structures, strange topics, and a lot of ferocious noise.