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The Fun Years - God was like, No



‘God Was Like, No’ is a challenging album to review, if for no other reason than for the fact that, while divided into conventional “songs,” in reality the album is one big, piece of continuous, evolving music. It’s also a bona fide genre-buster. At first listen,  it might bring 1990s math rock stalwarts Tortoise to mind, or any number of more recent Noise bands. But The Fun Years are not a math rock or Noise band; rather, they use math rock and Noise as source material for deconstruction using the sound design tools of the electronic musician. ‘God Was Like, No’ is, in some sense, like Monolake turning Tortoise into Steve Reich interpreting ‘Metal Machine Music.’ Sound confusing? It is, when you think about it. When you don’t, it just works.

Let me illustrate: ‘God Was Like, No’ starts off with guitars, big swirls of guitar layered over the kind of melancholic bass and melody you might expect from Tortoise. Slowly, the pieces transmute into rolling landscapes of still-melodic noise. As the metamorphosis completes, “Breech on the Bowstring” slides into “Division of Labor,” a collection of heavily rendered sounds and noises that barely resemble the mic’d instruments they once were. The shimmering guitars return on the gorgeous interlude, “Makes Sense To Me,” enveloping barely audible vocals. The guitars wash out into noise-filled and ring modulated textures of “Psychic Career.” The subsequent “Little Vapors” is simply a gorgeous piece of music. Were this the album’s final point, the only word worth using to describe ‘God Was Like, No’ would be triumphant.

Unfortunately, artists are not always their own best editors. Two of the final three tracks on ‘God Was Like, No,’—“And They Think My Name is Dequan” and “Get Out of the Obese Crowd”—are less inspired. Certainly they are intelligently made and challenging pieces of music, but lack the sublime quality of the album’s first five offerings, which taken together, form a remarkable, cohesive whole. However, for those with a high-tolerance for noise music, these final tracks won’t be without their charms. Certainly they should not stop anyone from buying this album, and indeed the album’s final number, “Precious Persecution Complex,” represents a return to form.

Anyone looking for a challenging, yet immediately listenable piece of music that defies conventions and the neat categorical boxes we fit our music into would do well to pick up ‘God Was Like, No.’

Gustav Brown

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