World/Inferno Friendship Society - Vox Inferne [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

World/Inferno Friendship Society

Vox Inferne [7 inch] (2010)

Team Science

The World/Inferno Friendship Society would have to reach pretty far to surprise people anymore. Huge rotating band of circus punks? Got ‘em. Huge theatrical albums about historical events and characters? Did several of 'em. Wildly boisterous live show so intense it resulted in them getting kicked off tour with Mindless Self Indulgence? Please..did that years ago. So, when the band announced they are doing Vox Inferne, a (mostly) a cappella 7", I wasn't so much surprised as upset with myself for not expecting it.

The 7" is jammed full with the W/IFS classic "Paul Robeson" and two new songs, "The Devil Boy's Last Hurrah" and "Istanbul, Drowned Blue Shows." The tracks sound exactly what you'd expect from W/IFS: great melodies with sharp lyrics and perfect accompaniment (even if it's just additional vocals and [occasionally] Franz Nicolay on piano). The key to this release is that the songs are not just great a cappella songs, but just great songs. After about the third listen, I found myself not realizing there were almost no instruments and just thoroughly enjoying the songs.

This release could easily have been something of interest to fanatics and collectors only (W/IFS have enough of both), but it really is something that any fan of their previous work can listen to and enjoy, without any sort of stipulation. It's a pleasant surprise but I guess it shouldn't be considering who it's coming from.