ALBUM REVIEW: Jimmy Urine & Serj Tankian – Fuktronic

Release Date: May 8th 2020
Label: Serjical Strike Records
Website: www.jimmyurine.net / www.serjtankian.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/serjtankian
Twitter: www.twitter.com/jimmyurine / www.twitter.com/serjtankian

Rating:

Originally announced way back in 2012, ‘Fuktronic’ is the unlikely pairing of Jimmy Urine (Mindless Self Indulgence) and Serj Tankian (System Of A Down).

Two unique creatives in their own right, this project has the potential to be puzzling to those unfamiliar with its intriguing premise.

Sharing an affinity for the theatrical and absurd, but also (and perhaps most importantly) a love for British gangster films a la Sexy Beast, Snatch and RocknRolla, the two enigmatic frontmen producers have come together to craft the soundtrack to one that doesn’t exist.

Part electronica/part audiobook, the album tells the story of a petty and down-on-his-luck criminal, who is newly released from prison. That’s about it. There’s no real narrative drive apart from possibly the first two tracks. After that, it becomes merely a series of mundane moments and interactions, such as buying a gun or having sex for the first time in years.

Also, the voice-acting is pretty terrible. Most accents are incredibly artificial and forced, with the main character sounding increasingly unconvincing and annoying as the album goes on. Urine‘s wife, who voices a French love interest, even admitted in an interview that she considers it “possibly one of the shittiest French accents in the world.”

It truly is a shame, as the music on here slaps. The instrumentals are layered and surprisingly dynamic. The cuts jolt from euphoric neon-soaked club anthems to ambient minimal electronica soundscapes, with nuanced fusing of live and programmed instrumentation.

It’s fresh and impressive, but can only ever be appreciated in brief intervals between the constant voice-over, which is markedly loud in the mix, often completely detracting from the music so much that it’s essentially an afterthought.

A constant misstep is also to repeat a short piece of dialogue ad nauseam throughout the run-time of a song, rather than letting it play once, and leaving space for the track to breath. By the album’s midpoint on ‘Ladies’, after hearing our gangster scream the words “fucking cunt” for literally the hundredth time, the whole thing just becomes tedious and genuinely insufferable.

While poorly executed and a missed opportunity, that isn’t to say that Urine and Tankian don’t clearly work well together or have the potential to collaborate on something truly excellent in the future. Sadly, after almost a decade in the making, ‘Fuktronic’ is a simple case of better in theory than in practice.

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