Reviewed by Aleem Hossain
Five Iron Frenzy’s illustrious musical existence has always been littered with rumours that the band were to split up. Now, eight years after their genesis, the band are conducting their farewell tour and ‘The End Is Near’ is their final studio album. It’s impossible to do the album justice in a short review as it is quintessential of everything FIF have stood for. Reese Roper has long established himself as one of the most creative and idiomatic singers and songwriters in the industry and ‘The End…’ showcases him at his best. There’s a vitriolic attack on capitalism (“American Kryptonite”); a ruthless onslaught on media spin (“Anchors Away”) and savage swipes at the music industry (“So Far, So Bad”). The light-hearted “Wizard Needs Food, Badly” is a track for all those men who just want to play with big boys’ toys. The aptly named “That’s How The Story Ends” serves to bring a sense of closure with references to tracks such as “Where Is Micah?”, “The Untimely Death Of Brad” and “These Are Not My Pants” as well as a farewell to favourites such as Combat Chuck, Kitty Doggy and the blue comb. “It Was Beautiful” is a sincere song of praise and thanks to God as the band remember the past eight years together. Musically, the band combine elements of rock, punk, ska and metal, whilst “See The Flames Begining To Crawl” features the rasta vocal and groove that the band experimented with on ‘All The Hype That Money Can Buy’. By far the brightest jewel on the album is the painfully honest closing track “On Distant Shores” which recognises the band’s struggles and seems to encompass everything that FIF (and Brave Saint Saturn) write about. The song borrows its closing lines from what is undeniably one of FIF’s most powerful songs, “Every New Day”. Clearly, a lot of thought and detail has been put into this project as it combines the best musical elements of previous releases with challenging, poignant and, in typical Five Iron style, humorous lyrics. You could almost buy the record, which comes in a jewel case and cardboard sleeve, for Douglas Ten Napel’s artwork alone. Rumours are bound to be rife as Ten Napel’s seemingly dead-and-buried Five Iron Bunny Monster nudges its box open. Suggestion, perhaps, that this is not FIF’s final chapter, though I prefer to think that this is just an ironic prod at the rumours which seem to have been an inherent part of FIF’s career. The album can be bought exclusively from www.themobilemessage.org.
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