ALBUM: I Set My Friends On Fire – Astral Rejection

Release Date: June 21st, 2011
Label: Epitaph
Website: None available


One thing that should always be kept in mind with I Set My Friends On Fire is that they shouldn’t be taken completely seriously. For just a few examples, take a look at their band name, some of their song titles such as ‘Erectangles’ and ‘Excite Dyke’, the album’s artwork, and of course some of their choices of lyrics; “Cumming is one of my favourite things to do”. Even from the very beginning, it was clear that their infamous cover of ‘Crank That’ that ISMFOF weren’t a band to take with all seriousness.

With that all out of the way then, the band’s sophomore effort ‘Astral Rejection’ is a natural progression and evolution from their 2008 debut, ‘You Can’t Spell Slaughter Without Laughter’. Despite the depature of co-founding member Nabil Moo and an almost complete rescrap of the album around a year prior to its eventual release, ‘Astral Rejection’ expands upon the ideas and soundscapes ISMFOF had already laid down, and continues to avoid the norm for the most part.

Opener ‘It Comes Naturally’ brings one of the biggest hooks the album is packing in its chorus, delivering a tried and tested formula of eratically screamed verses and auto-tune soaked chorus sections from vocalist Matt Mehana. A new face on the ISMFOF sound is introduced in the much softer and more or less scream-free tracks ‘Developer, The Horn’ and ‘Life Hertz’, the former of which proving to be one of the strongest yet also catchiest tracks the band have released to date, albeit all thanks to their friend auto-tune.

The eletronic presence is much more dominant in this record, and also far more technical and seemingly more considered than before. ‘Infinite Suck’ and ‘My Paralyzed Brother Taps His Foot To This Beat’ both show developments on this sound, and prove that ISMFOF have expanded outwards on the capabilites they displayed previously. Those hoping to have the same catchiness as before may be disappointed, as the album’s title-track and ‘Narcasismfof’ pack a mean punch to the eardrums.

There are some people out there who may never take I Set My Friends On Fire seriously, but they’ve never made out that they wanted to be. So much of their persona should be enough evidence of this, they’re just a band doing what they do. Some will love ‘Astral Rejection’ and others will hate it, but hopefully not so many will automatically discard it without giving it a chance.

Written by Zach Redrup