The Supreme Leader
Union Without Fear = Information Society – Star Trek + Hip-Hop
In the enigmatic world of Fearless Union, genders are transcended. The rigid lines that once divided synthpop from industrial trance to hip hop to jazz have all blurred to the point where the classification is obsolete.
For this adventure, I was blindfolded and thrown down a rabbit hole. I don’t know if Fearless Union is an individual or a collective. It may be a mysterious philosophy or a distant cousin of Deb wise. Both are unlikely. We never know.
The Supreme Leader is an interesting album to listen to and a nightmare to try to describe. Most voices sound like they’re coming through a megaphone. It’s a mix of spoken word, rapping and singing in a variety of styles ranging from jimmy somerville‘s post-vaudeville falsetto statement of TacosThe interpretation of “Puttin’ on the Ritz”. Sometimes it sounds like Trent Reznor if he replaced his anger with a timid sense of cynicism and satire. Guess that puts Fearless Union somewhere near The pop will be eaten‘s “Sage! Sucker” or whatever Sigue Sigue Sputnik catalog (track eight is titled “Heat Seeking Love Missiles”, which probably has nothing to do with the SSS track “Love Missile F1-11”). I don’t think I misinterpreted the mood. Should I take things more seriously?
sonically The Supreme Leader is everywhere on the electronic board. Fearless Union accumulates a wide range of styles and throws them into the room. Sometimes it feels like the high-energy antics of Frankie goes to Hollywoodsometimes it hits like in the 90s Underworld (Mk2) Or like a neighbor on the turning street The Prodigy (without the deep low end kick). Every once in a while there’s a hot guitar noodle under the electronics. These sections look more like U2 that they sound like U2. Fortunately, there’s a rawness to mixing and recording that promotes the ad hoc nature of songs, but sometimes there’s confusion when too many elements are fighting to be heard: it could be a mastering issue, or done entirely on purpose.
Where the album stumbles the most is that each song feels like two or three different songs mixed together. Sometimes it works for me. Sometimes that’s not the case. Ultimately, however, the concurrent structure makes it all blurry. None of this sounds the same. None of this consistently stands out. “The Lifesoul”, the album’s final truck, ends up being the most recognizable because it seems to belong entirely on another album.
There is a lot of talent evident in The Supreme Leader. There just isn’t a lot of focus. Musicians will be impressed with the range; Electronic and hip-hop fans will love different tracks, but the eclectic and eccentric structure of the songs makes it hard to know who I would recommend some or all of it to. How adventurous do you feel? –Ryan Michael Painter
Read more local music reviews:
Local Critic: Daniel Pimentel – Fear and Trembling
Local Review: Sky Olson – Cavity Walls