Last time out, Fergus and Geronimo seemed intent upon playing themselves into the artier side of the garage rock game, but such attributes will rarely be seen on their newest effort. They set off to make Funky Was the State of Affairs a complete album, and after spending days with this record, their work has revealed a group intent upon making their own way in the indie sphere, compiling bits of proto-punk with hints of Devo and snippets of enhanced messages for the listener.
“No Parties” is the first traditional song, following the album’s opening bit of quirky messaging. While there’s a bent towards the proto-punk of Wire, Fergus and Geronimo are intent early on to reveal their notes to the fans. Themes of mass-consumption and indifference to the greater Earth seem prevalent, and it’s something that only grows stronger as the record progresses. “Roman Tick” soon follows with a brattier rock n’ roll moment, but this time the boys are aiming their guns at the trials and tribulations of modern dating. I like the propulsive drum beat and the vocal delivery on this note, harkening back to one of my favorite periods in music history.
You could probably skip around on some of the tunes, or tidbits, from Funky Was the State of Affairs, but you might miss some of the elements that run through the entirety of the album. For instance, “Roman Numerals/Wiretapping Muzak I” wouldn’t make much sense when listened to by skipping the snipped that precedes it, but when it’s all tied in, it makes for a special moment where listeners can see the dedication to tying everything together. Would “Earthling Women” make any sense if we ignored “Earthling Men?” In truth, probably not, but that’s just one of the special attributes of such an intellectually accomplished effort.
I mean, if you’re looking for solid songs from Fergus and Geronimo, those definitely exist within the woven fabric, and it’s not like you have to search for them. Aside from the previously mentioned tracks, “Drones” is another solid track you’ll find yourself tapping your toes to while you press play. Nice work on the high-hat gives the song it’s rhythm, and the vocal delivery is sort of spoken word, matching the pace of the track itself. This one here is probably one of my favorite songs. Or, maybe you’re looking with something funkier? You’ll find that in “Marky Move,” a track that opens with handclaps and a bobbing bass line. Just to keep things interesting, the group throws in a nice horn solo to coincide with the stomping delivery of the lyrics. These are just a few moments of the clever songwriting present throughout.
Funky Was the State of Affairs is probably one of the first records to be put out there that really sticks to the point. Fergus and Geronimo set out to make a record with thematic elements that hit the listener from start to finish, and their execution is spot on; each song ties into the album somehow, somewhere. It might not be the album for everyday listening, but it’s an album that requires your attention and dedication to completing your experience from start to finish. Should you accept the mission, you’ll be rewarded.
Download: Fergus & Geronimo – No Parties [MP3]
Funky Was the State of Affairs is now available from Hardly Art.