5 out of 5
Label: Big Top Records
Produced by: Damon Tutunjian
I shiver with delight just looking at that garish cover: the discordant red and blue squares with the hard to read grey typeface of the album and artist name. And the latter two are so perfect: no idea of the genesis of the group, but at the time when I procured this, Farleys automatically equated in my mind to the actor, Chris Farley, and pluralizing that plus the ‘wicked’ tag is a pleasingly non-sensical, unvisualizable mash-up, that nonetheless indicates this weird sense of snicker-snack smiling snide that ends up syncing well with the band’s music. We add the very formal album name atop and the whole mixed-up impression gets another mixed-up rearrangement.
Michael Brodeur: sweet croons. Damon Tutunjian’s production; Christina Files’ recording: that these two are Swirlies members is apparent in the gift of utter noise it lends the album, though this is also a self-possessed trait of the band, as it’s all over their Sustained Interest EP and Make It It followup disc.
3 to 4 minute tracks are stuffed to the gills with key embellishments, insane drum bashing, punky riffage, and none of it tuneful and yet making a whole lotta toe-tapping sense when put together. It’s not an album you rock out to, per se; nor is it an album to chill to. It is not pretty; it is not angry.
The Wicked Farleys were seemingly here and then not here, dropping this album of utter indie rock spasms, an addendum EP, and then slightly more streamlined masterpiece Make It It, and then probably realizing that it wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the up and coming bands to always be the comparison: “Yeah, but they’re not as crazy / beautiful / loud / weird as The Wicked Farleys.” So they bowed out and let other groups try their best.
But twenty years on and no one’s quite figured out how tWFs made their particular unmusic stylings so goddamn thrilling.