Your Choice Way

The F16s - Is It Time to Eat the Rich Yet? Music Album Reviews

The F16s - Is It Time to Eat the Rich Yet? Music Album Reviews
The Chennai quartet are indie-rock revival survivors making an overdue play for international recognition. Their latest EP is packed with sunlit synths, neon grooves, and upbeat pop melodies.

The indie-rock revival of the early 2000s took a few years to hit Indian shores, where bands had spent much of the decade still flogging the corpses of grunge and ’90s alternative. It wasn’t until 2011 or so when a new crop of acts—inspired by the post-punk retromania of the Strokes and LCD Soundsystem, as well as the new ubiquity of YouTube and high-speed broadband—found new reservoirs of hitherto-untapped inspiration. This “new wave”—including bands like high-octane garage rockers the Lightyears Explode, cabaret-jazz punks Peter Cat Recording Co., and post-punk revivalists the F16s—arrived at a rare moment of optimism in the Indian rock underground. Rock bands were headlining some of the country’s biggest festivals, making their presence felt on Bollywood film soundtracks, and even catching the eye of international rock publications. (Both Rolling Stone and NME launched Indian editions around this time.)

The optimism was short-lived. Having opened the door for independent music to enter the national mainstream, rock was pushed aside by EDM and hip-hop, eventually finding itself back on the fringes of the industry. The little space left for guitar music was quickly occupied by bland and inoffensive singer-songwriters hoping for a lucrative sync deal. But while many of their contemporaries disbanded or reinvented themselves as bedroom producers, the F16s persevered. Across two EPs, one full-length (2016’s Triggerpunkte), and a series of singles, the band honed their sound—a nostalgic melange of the last four decades of indie rock—into dense, danceable alt-pop. In the process, they hit all the heights available to a rock band in India which, by their own admission, aren’t many. With their new EP, Is It Time To Eat the Rich Yet?, the F16s make their long-delayed play for international recognition.

Taking a step back from the Tame Impala fanboyism of 2019’s WKND FRNDS—a collection of woozy, synth-driven heartache ballads—Is It Time To Eat the Rich Yet? returns to the F16s’ post-punk roots, now complemented by a healthy dose of G-funk synths and neo-soul melodies. Frontman Joshua Fernandez remains obsessed with the impermanence of contemporary romance and his own imperfections (both consistent themes), but there’s a darker political edge to his lyrics as he confronts India’s growing authoritarianism and cultural revanchism. The F16s’ rock’n’roll intransigence has always been at odds with the conservative mainstream: When Fernandez smashed a guitar onstage at a music festival in 2016, he was met with howls of outrage. But the events of the last few years—communal riots, arbitrary arrests of dissenting voices, online mobs of right-wing trolls—have driven home the existential nature of India’s ongoing socio-political crisis. Ironic detachment is no longer an option.

But despite what the title suggests, this is not a record of political polemic. In fact, the music is decidedly celebratory, packed with sunlit synths, neon grooves, and upbeat pop melodies. It’s only when you pay closer attention to the lyrics—which Fernandez delivers in cheeky pitch-shifted falsetto and expansive chamber-pop baritone—that you realize you’re, as one band member put it, “dancing to (y)our doom.” Opener “I’m on Holiday” blends classic doo-wop, psych rock, new wave, and Afro-pop into a summery tropical cocktail, imagining lockdown-induced separation from loved ones as a jangly vacation ditty. Never have the words “I’m on holiday, forever” sounded as sinister. Driven by Abhinav Krishnaswamy’s guitar and a brass section, “Trouble in Paradise” breathes new life into the alt-rock trope of the self-identified misanthrope. “Easy Wake Easy Bake” opens with a submerged synth line that, in its mixture of AM gold and psychedelia, is basically a ready-made Avalanches sample. It also features the terrific line “She fucks me like the government”—delivered with a straight face.

“Sucks to Be Human” is all maximalist synth and disco rhythm, a halogen-lit retro-futuristic tour of alienation, planetary destruction, and billionaire space-escape fantasies. It’s the first of two tracks on the record that look beyond Fernandez’s emotional universe to the world around him. The other is closer “The Apocalypse,” an ode for nihilistic eco-millenarianism: “SOS! Don’t panic,” goes the falsetto chorus, “Bless our death, we’ve doomed our planet.” There is something audacious about this ecstatic invocation of self-annihilation. Perhaps that’s why they end the track with a slight reprieve: “We’re all gonna be fine,” Fernandez sings. Will we? The F16s aren’t the first band to hide ominous messaging under outwardly joyous melodies, and sometimes they wear their influences on their sleeve too openly. But the instant familiarity is balanced by their technical and songwriting chops. Just grab a drink and dance your way to extinction.

Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
The F16s - Is It Time to Eat the Rich Yet? Music Album Reviews The F16s - Is It Time to Eat the Rich Yet? Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, November 02, 2021 Rating: 5

0 comments:

Post a Comment