Album Review: Feudalism – “Consonance/Dissonance”

The latest release by Feudalism has everything I love about folk punk: Blaring accordion, sing-along choruses, and playfully cynical lyrics; not to mention slightly creepy album artwork.

This record does a great job of illustrating some musical complexities not often seen in punk music. Polished (albeit unexpected) transitions, an eerie use of diminished accordion chords, and a skillful use of musical suspension/tension/release are all pieced together to bring this album up a peg from your run-of-the-mill punk or folk punk release.

On that same note, whenever I hear a spoken word intro to a song, it’s usually a quick line from a movie deployed as a clever or gimmicky intro (examples: ‘We Called It America’ by NOFX, ‘Failed Invasion’ by Direct Hit!, or ‘Big Plans of Sleeping In’ by Bomb The Music Industry!) . In contrast, the monologues here are used as a stylistic preview and a verbalization of some common lyrical themes, which I’ll discuss a bit more down below. By far the best example of this is in the 4th track ‘An Exploration Of Dissonance’ (it actually takes up most of the entire song, but still).

One of my favorite tracks ‘Pestilence’ is bound to become an awesome live shout-along, in between the back-and-forth rocking of accordion’s polka-style treble/bass, all wrapped up quite nicely with a gloomy waltz. And if the polka punk is your thing, the next song “Venture Capitalist” follows a similar roadmap, with an added slide-heavy trombone for an added demented circus feel.

“Consonance/Dissonance” is aptly representative of common lyrical threads here, in addition to musical motifs and reoccurrences. I interpreted this album as a musical narrative of humanity’s constant grasping for social, economic and technological advances, at the expense of humanity, kindness, and goodwill. The whole thing is a cynically ironic affair that makes a twistedly lovable concept album.

My Rating: 4.5/5.

Best track: Venture Capitalist/Midlife Fucking Crisis (can’t decide)

What I’d like to hear on the next album: Perhaps a broader instrumentation with some more strings and horns.

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