Album review: Tropical Fuck Storm – Deep States
The darkly hallucinogenic world of Melbourne weirdos Tropical Fuck Storm is a borderless realm, its edges blurry like a fever dream. Any time you think you’ve sussed their murkily psychedelic approach, the quartet take another thrilling, freewheeling detour. Deep States’ opener The Greatest Story Ever Told is fuelled by the sort of wayward guitar heroics favoured by Dinosaur Jr. or Pavement, with frontpeople Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin hollering the anthemic chorus. But this is as close to straight as they play it, and many of this album’s highlights are decidedly wonkier.
Recent single G.A.F.F. offers insistent punk-funk, Gareth slur-rapping like Joe Strummer. Suburbiopia glowers with industrial menace, while New Romeo Agent is arthouse pop. Throw in the fidgety minimalism of Bumma Sanger and gradually sprawling ballad Legal Ghost and you have a record that defies easy categorisation, reminiscent only of the restlessness embodied by outfits like Liars.
If their music feels trippy and amorphous, their lyrical focus is often surprisingly specific. G.A.F.F. (or Give A Fuck Fatigue) takes an idiosyncratic look at the state of the world this decade, Gareth referencing ‘Deep fakes, false flags, fires and famine’ and proclaiming, ‘There’s too much information / I can’t get an erection until after the election.’ Bumma Sanger is a lockdown lament, where ‘The bad news channel’s on a fucking roll’ and dreams of holidaying in outer space offer the only respite. Elsewhere, there are lyrics about suicide cults, QAnon, Noah’s Ark and, on Reporting Of A Failed Campaign, a decades-spanning tale of international corruption.
You may well get to the end of Deep States unsure what you’ve just been subjected to; you may also discover that this is no barrier to wanting to experience it all again and again.
For fans of: Dinosaur Jr., IDLES, Liars
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Hear State Champs’ absolutely wicked cover of Fall Out Boy’s Take This To Your Grave track.