Braindrops by Tropical Fuck StormRelease date: August 23, 2019
Label: Joyful Noise Recordings
It’s only been a year since Tropical Fuck Storm made their acid paint splashed debut with A Laughing Death In Meatspace – a fevered nightmare of techno dystopia seen through beer light. A super group formed through a maelstrom of ex-The Drones, MOD CON, and High Tension members; Tropical Fuck Storm made a darkly comic psychedelic gunshot into acclaim. They return in quick fashion with their new album Braindrops; using familiar ingredients to concoct the same intoxicating cocktail fusion of fuzz, pop, and soothsaying.
Tropical Fuck Storm feed an atmosphere akin to waking up on the booze and nicotine stained sofa of your own house, looking around to see if you recognize the room anymore, before opening the window to light a bent cigarette on the nuclear fire outside. Discordant rhythms and warm fuzz keep an unpredictable depth to songs which bubble with a deeply ingrained pop sentimentality. Theirs is a sound that echoes 60s experimentalists and Tom Waits, fed through Top of the Pops reruns and an air conditioning unit. If you dig you will find layer upon layer of noise, reverb, and stratospherically smothered psyche rock that is all connected by a militant dedication to song craft.
You can see Tropical Fuck Storm as being your gateway into experimental rock, an accessible warren to lose yourself in through the poisoned chart topper ‘Who’s My Eugene?’ or the remains of Abba after a car crash in ‘Braindrops’. Its the same mixture of elements that made their debut so great, with elements tweaked and volumes increased to keep that freshness and warm comforting homely feeling. And this comfort is fostered through nightmares; a feeling that you are never more at home then when you are sitting with your fears – your closest allies. Primary lead vocalist Gareth Liddiard, often superbly backed up with harmonic performances from Fiona Kitschin and Erica Dunn, creates beautifully direct poetry with vindication and without prudence.
Tropical Fuck Storm’s music is supremely funny, and Liddiard laces most verses with a needle sharp sardonic wit. Little is obfuscated, except only very deliberately to allow you to transpose yourself within his experience. It is brutally honest music, and there is a constant feeling that you are listening to someone who has been through hell – and has got through it with a warm smile and a cold beer. Its an album filled with heart, humility, and humanity. ‘Aspirin’ is a heart breaking cascade of remorse and reflection, with a sentiment so thick you forget just how spatial the music is when the lyrics are so grounded in cracked concrete.
In the end Tropical Fuck Storm really brings to mind the film Saturday Night Fever. Most people remember Saturday Night Fever as that film with the dancing, the soundtrack, and that bit at the start with the paint can. But underneath all of the iconic moments, its a crushing kitchen sink dirge of nihilistic urban squalor. With Braindrops, you’ll remember the infectious tunes, the hilarious wit, and the psychedelic paint layers. But underneath it all is an album with heart, oh so much heart, that beats in spite of itself.
Tropical Fuck Storm is a band that looks at the oncoming end times, and the reflective haze of the apocalypse past, and says “Fuck it.” Its hard not to see yourself finger painted in acid on the canvas of Tropical Fuck Storm, and if you can’t see yourself you can certainly see everyone else. They are a tremendously exciting prospect – an out there rickety space rocket grounded by reality. Braindrops cast a similar shadow to its predecessor, and that is no bad thing. After all we all need a soundtrack whilst we sleepwalk into oblivion…and there are far worse last lullabies than Braindrops.