Edit: Five Iron Frenzy themselves have posted updated lyrics with corrections made, click here. Also, I left out info on “So We Sing” which is a catchy song in it’s own right but I didn’t mention because it was the first single released a few months back and I assumed most had heard it. Carry on…. Five Iron Frenzy surprised just about everyone by dropping their brand new, electrifying full length album on Friday. It is a complete, total dumpster fire wreck of an album and filled with nothing but pure feces. Right? Wrong! Speaking of the actual dumpster fire that was 2020 and entering into this new year of 2021, the album couldn’t have come at a more relevant time. It speaks to people on so many different levels and offers a glimpse at the overall hope so many of us have despite our differences.
Yes, there are plenty of political statements (“In Through The Out Door”, “Bullfighting For an Empty Ring”, “While Supplies Last”, “Renegades”, “While Supplies Last”, “Tyrannis”, “Wildcat”) to be found with an expression of their collective thoughts and ideas, but it’s not enough to chase away even the grumpiest of conservative voices. After all, the music of FIF has always been hopeful and inspirational in nature. To know this band and understand their message all one has to do is the chart the course starting with “Upbeats and Beatdowns” beginning in 1997.
It is thought provoking in ways I didn’t possibly think it would be but it’s also an unrelenting FUN record that most “kids” would enjoy. Five Iron Frenzy have released an early 2021 album that will hold significance throughout the remaining months, weeks, and days left in this year. Yes, I personally hold certain views that may conflict with other certain views but it doesn’t matter because we are all one human race in this life and God takes precedence over all that consumes us. Sure, I’m grumpy, old, and I like to tell kids to get off my lawn but I share a common bond with this band that has meant so much to me during my formative years. To be honest they are all older than me so I actually feel young listening to this, haha.
People have their favorite songs but I’m really feeling “Like Something I Missed” and “Homelessly Devoted to You”. “Renegades” sounds good. “Bull Fighting for an Empty Ring” is classic Five Iron Frenzy mixed with some great sounding reggae-ska. “Auld Lanxiety” is great. The closer “Huerfano” has a punk rock feel but with an urgent message of hope, of rising up to those that beat you down and standing up for the beauty within. The rest of the songs are amazing too.
In fact, the sonic quality of these songs showcase a band at its prime and a producer (producers) who knew what they were doing, letting the band just be themselves. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to record 8 musicians in a studio and get a album like this to resonate with the fans like it has. Speaking of “sound”, their style has shifted on this album and I truly believe this effort incorporates every single element from the past while mixing it up with a very current sound, taking them in an even broader direction. I think of it as reggae-dub-ska-rock if that make sense. A friend dropped a comparison to The Black Keys and Ska but I’m certainly glad it wasn’t that (sorry Black Keys fans).
So as we mourn whatever you call 2020 and the turmoil we’ve all been experiencing as people, living through this pandemic and watching the world explode. Just sit back in solace and fold yourself into the sounds of “Until This Shakes Apart” with a good pair of headphones, an open mind, and plenty of heart warming tenderness. Thank you Five Iron for over 25 years of life altering and thought provoking music that most bands only wish to have written. Diversity indeed. – Brandon J / IVM