The Fun Years – God Was Like, No
Posted In: Barge Recordings, Daniel J. Gregory, God Was Like No, The Fun Years, The Fun Years - God Was Like No
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With 2008’s “Baby, It’s Cold Inside”, The Fun Years established themselves as being amongst the cream of the crop of the modern ambient and experimental scene; its blend of melancholic guitar passages over noisey electronics and field recordings struck a chord with fans of the genre as it brought together ideas and sounds explored by other artists into a coherent body of work…
For me, it was the last track of the album in particular that made me take notice of this guitar and turn table duo from America. The final burst of euphoric noise that breaks down and degrades as the album reaches its closing minute is superb and inspired. The whole album feels like it’s leading to that one point, where nothing can control it’s self any longer and has to explode. Keeping that moment to the very end of the album is what makes it stand out. Where as a lot of artists will go for the euphoric noise early on or repeatedly throughout an album, The Fun Years left it till the end; punctuating everything else that came before it. That’s where the problem is with the newly released “God Was Like, No”.
Opener “Breech on the Bowstring” is a superb piece of textured ambient, with it’s repetitive motifs gradually melting into the blurry background electronics. As the piece reaches it’s climax and dies out, it fades into the next track entitled “Division of Labor (TV Track)”, which features some truly unique and bizarre sounds, all spinning like a kaleidoscope from a surreal dream; or was it a nightmare? “Little Vapors” is a stand out track, beginning with piano loops from a seriously degraded old vinyl stuck on loop that builds to an all out psychedelic wash of guitar haze. Album closer “Precious Persecution Complex” sees the noise and textures pushed to maximum in what sounds like a cut up and destroyed version of “Chimeras” by Tim Hecker.
“God Was Like, No” ticks all the boxes for the ambient music fan. The Fun Years once again manage to combine a series of interesting techniques and ideas into a well thought out and structured album. My problem is that, with their last album, they really made their mark. They were able to make a statement about who they were. It was a fantastically paced album with a massive sense of dynamic; and it’s exactly that which “God Was Like, No” doesn’t have. Sure there are some great moments on the album and the glacial melodies and grainy textures are superb, but they go nowhere; they are forgettable, there is nothing remarkable about the sound The Fun Years create anymore.
That is not to say this is a bad album. It’s highly enjoyable in fact, but I can’t help but feel under whelmed by it. What struck me as being so great about “Baby It’s Cold Inside” was how it encapsulated so many ideas into such a small amount of time and how it felt like each idea was accumulated into the last track as a big send off. It felt whole, complete and most of all exciting. Whenever I listened to the album, I knew I was looking forward to the end but I never skipped to it. Listening to the other tracks is what made the ending of the album so much more enjoyable. “God Was Like, No” lacks this dynamic, this excitement, this structure; and for that reason, I can’t help but be disappointed by it.
- Review by Daniel J. Gregory for Fluid Radio