World/Inferno Friendship Society - Red-Eyed Soul (Cover Artwork)

World/Inferno Friendship Society

Red-Eyed Soul (2006)


If there is a term for this record it would "Han Solo-ish".

Han's charm has been discussed the world over, from Kevin J. Anderson to Kevin Smith and it's that sense of charm that permeates the World/Inferno Friendship Society's Red Eyed Soul.

Like the famed Corellian smuggler, the World/Inferno Friendship Society has its own distinct swagger, from jumping rooftops in "Me V. Angry Mob" or petty larceny in the aptly titled "Let's Steal Everything" ("you never saw a thing and I was never there..."), but, like the Coreillan smuggler, it also knows how to dissappear before the authorities arrive ("So Long to the Circus").

The entirety of the Speak of Brave Men EP is here, apparently untouched, so if you've got it already, then there's 12 new cuts to appease you with. If, like me, you're new to the Society, then you won't notice.

If like me, you've never heard the Society before, this CD is fucking weird. The truth is, Red-Eyed Soul is what would happen if an anarchist punk rock band played with the cabaret from "Moulin Rouge." There's pianos, saxophones, violins, trumpets, cellos, keyboards, trombones and accordions, oh my! It sounds crazy. It sounds nutty. And it works. For 15 songs, it works, and how.

The first track, "Brother of the Mayor of Bridgewater" (and obvious single, if this group was ever to get any airplay) represents the crazy, crazy musical heights this group can achieve, and one listen will instantly convert you to a believer, or as the fans call themselves, Infernites. Is it a pop song? A swing song? A punk song? Who cares?

And while there's no song on the CD that's as immediately "end of year mixtape / tell all your friends for the next 3 months" worthy, within 2 listens, the disc has its hooks in you, and it ain't letting go.

Red-Eyed Soul, and by extension, the World/Inferno Friendship Society doesn't just defy categorization, it spits in its face. For lack of a better term, "circus music" and the group's own description, a "punk rock orchestra" will have to do. It goes without saying then, that Red-Eyed Soul isn't going to sit well as something to follow a diet of more straightforward music (say, right after No Trigger and Ignite), but listened to on its own, I found myself smiling, tapping my toes and singing along, or least making my best attempt to sing along, even though I can barely hold a key.

There has been talk of "a bold artistic statement" from our community. Red-Eyed Soul is it. It's memorable, it's anthemic, it questions and it rips at the beliefs that we base our society on. If you're looking for something different, important and fun (all at the same time), then I can think of no CD that fits the bill as well as Red-Eyed Soul.

Highly recommended.