They do it differently down under. The love song, that is. At least Tropical Fuck Storm do, and if we’re measuring these things by accent and style, then Tropical Fuck Storm are about as Aussie as you can get. On their extremely prompt second album ‘Braindrops’ the band turn the love song on its head, and give it a kick up the arse for good measure. They have also taken this opportunity to pioneer ‘fake news’ as a musical genre, serving up conspiracy theories in neat art-rock packages. The future is now, people.
At first the haunting ‘Maria 63’ appears to be a dark ode to a futile love, but it soon twists and reveals itself to be the story of a secret agent travelling to Buenos Aires to assassinate a fictional Nazi telepath alleged to have given Hilter the blueprints to alien warp engines. It should be ridiculous, but instead, it’s creepy and rich and absorbing, a testament to Tropical Fuck Storm’s weird pedigree. ‘The Planet of Straw Men’ also draws on falsities, venturing below the line to eviscerate the kind of behaviour you find in the comments section.
While Tropical Fuck Storm proved that they’re worth their salt on the punk rock front with debut album ‘A Laughing Death in Meatspace’, on ‘Braindrops’, it’s the tender songs that stand out. ‘Maria 62’ shows a more mournful aspect of Gareth Liddiard’s vocal range, elevated by the eerie chorus of Fiona Kitschin and Erica Dunn’s vocals dipping in and out in the background. The stripped-back staircase melody and lyrical play of ‘Aspirin’ is also a key point, striking at the emotional heart of the record around gaps in the narrator’s memory.
With ‘Braindrops’, Tropical Fuck Storm are showing a different side to themselves. Softer, maybe, but just as strange as ever.