The seven years of waiting by fans since their last album Engine of a Million Plots, more than ensured that a Kickstarter campaign for its successor was a successful invitation by Five Iron Frenzy and now those supporters and the world has been rewarded with Until This Shakes Apart and a stunning slab of the band’s familiar but rarely predictable ska, punk and rock ‘n roll blended incitement. Now we here are not going to pretend we are close companions with all of the Denver hailing outfit’s previous releases but if any unheard are bigger, bolder and better than this treat they must have ‘Classic’ indelibly stamped on their bodies.
Until This Shakes Apart is a rip roaring assault on the senses, a glorious manipulation of an instinct to dance, leap, and thrust forward vocal chords in tandem with those of the band. As expected its songs also snarl at and chew upon the injustices within society, politics and religion as they burrow under the skin and orchestrate body, limbs and spirit. It is provocative, in the face and more fun than we probably deserve.
In Through the out Door sparks off the uproar, the track an instant lure of punk riffs soon entwined in teasing sonic strands and aflame with the rich heat of brass. As rhythms bring their alluring shadows, Reese Roper opens up his familiarly potent tones; all the while contagion soaks every aspect of the song’s magnetic stroll. As its creative limbs punch the air and melodic enterprise breeds pure infection, the bass of Scott Kerr especially hit the spot though to be honest from every angle the track had us bouncing.
And from there the expulsion of energy never lapsed, the following Lonesome for Her Heroes urging full swing in hips and fluidity of feet with its psych kissed ska saunter. From the jangle of Micah Ortega’s guitar and the just as potent wiring sprung by Sonnie Johnston with his similarly bred lead to the senses heating blasts of trumpeter Nathanael “Brad” Dunham, trombonist Dennis Culp and saxophonist Leanor “Jeff the Girl” Ortega Till, submission to the song’s will was inescapable.
So We Sing equally had us doing its bidding, the wickedly driving skip of Andrew Verdecchio’s beats directing movement of song and listener, vocals similarly pure incitement to participation whilst reflecting on lyrical observation. There is nothing predictable about Until This Shakes Apart except its exploitation of eager movement of the body track by track, this and the following Bullfight for an Empty Ring unscrupulous in that intent with the second as jerkily compelling as it is electronically absorbing within its ska pop escapade.
Through the humidly aired simmer turned defiant roar of Renegades and the frenetic agility of Tyrannis we only found greater greed for the record, the second a superb slice of pop punk/hardcore seeded uproar while Auld Lanxiety had us breathlessly joining in with its pop ‘n’ roll contagion; all three as individual in their character and creative presence as they are united in keen almost ferocious passion, fun, and insight.
Hollering and boisterously bouncing across the floor was just as inevitable with Homelessly Devoted to You as it proved to be alongside the riveting amble of One Heart Hypnosis. Equally the latter’s dark shadows were as intriguing as its warm chorus was addictively catchy before While Supplies Last transfixed with arguably an even more crepuscular breath and serenade upon the imagination. Again there is a bite to the calm and seduction, vocals and rhythms highlighting the irritability with the world which often underlines the celebration and here ignites a tempestuous rock crescendo.
There is a kind of Midnight Oil character to the album which makes a more obvious appearance in the sound of Wildcat, its virulent rock ‘n’ roll as much a protest and exclamation of intent as an incitement to further physical animation from the listener. In turn Like Something I Missed is an explosion of sound and pleasure in the ear evoking the same intensity of fleshly energy in its recipients but another song which makes you think and contemplate all the while.
Concluded by the anthemic bellow of the individuality celebrating Huerfano, another vigorously stirring moment with the release, the quite exceptional Until This Shakes Apart left us breathless, exhilarated and greedy for more. So what more do you need to know to let Five Iron Frenzy light your fuse to ska punk rock delirium.
Until This Shakes Apart is out now across all digital platforms.
Pete RingMaster 05/02/2021
Copyright RingMaster Review