Failure: The Heart Is A Monster

theheartisamonster

It took 19 years, but Failure followed up their beloved space rock album, Fantastic Planet, with what appears to be a direct sequel last year. The aeronautical themes continue on this album, and the titles of the Segue tracks (of which there are six) pick up where they left off in 1996, as the first track on the album is called “Segue 4.”

Happily, the band totally exceeds everything done on their prior release. In fact, this is probably their best record of all, as it ties the rating I gave for their debut Comfort, and beats that of their second release, Magnified. The songs are mostly very good, though with 18 tracks even as many as six segues can’t prevent some near-clunkers from getting in; “Atom City Queen” is the obvious one to cut here, along with a few of the nothing-y segues.

This is a sonic pleasure, as the production and engineering are top-notch. The ambience of the instruments and the deadpan delivery of the stark lyrics masterfully paint a theme of airborne, spacebound desolation. The final non-segue song, “I Can See Houses,” seems to be about a man aboard a crashing plane, accepting his fate, or at least his likely fate.

This is the sound of a mature band, bringing on power not through speed or even heaviness, but through a thorough execution of a clear vision of an antiseptic, lonely, harsh future.

Rating:
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Mix: “Fair Light Era”
Really Like: “Counterfeit Sky,” “Petting The Carpet”
Like: “Hot Traveler,” “A.M. Amnesia,” “Snow Angel,” “Segue 5,” “Mulholland Dr.,” “Segue 6,” “Come Crashing,” “The Focus,” “Otherwhere,” “Segue 8,” “I Can See Houses”
Meh:
“Segue 4,” “Atom City Queen,” “Segue 7,” “Segue 9”
Song Notes:
 After the jump

  1. Segue 4 – spacey, which I think ends up being a theme
  2. Hot Traveler – “I didn’t think you’d notice/But now I see your purpose”
  3. A.M Amnesia –
  4. Snow Angel – lyrics describe like a Jason Bourne type thing?
  5. Atom City Queen – song is too long for the material presented. almost as low as a dislike
  6. Segue 5 –
  7. Counterfeit Sky –
  8. Petting The Carpet – spacey. didn’t like it at first, but it’s a grower. This is the song with the line “the heart is a monster”
  9. Mulholland Dr. –
  10. Fair Light Era – great guitar part. My fave.
  11. Segue 6 –
  12. Come Crashing –
  13. Segue 7 – pretty boring, but does serve its segue purpose well
  14. The Focus – great start but doesn’t live up to its opening riff
  15. Otherwhere –
  16. Segue 8 – good, but requires close listen. reminds me of 2001: A Space Odyssey
  17. I Can See Houses – great guitar sound. lyrics, about a plane going down, push it over the border into Like
  18. Segue 9 – 4:07, long for a segue
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