The things about labelling bands and music is every once in a while a band comes along and says ‘fuck that’ and sits wherever the hell they want, making a mockery of your journalistic opinion.
That band is Melbourne’s Twelve Foot Ninja.
A band that within any particular song will weave any number of musical styles just because they can. Boy do they do it well.
They are music’s Willy Wonka. An enchanting yet strangely odd band that every song is journey into their mind. This album is that golden ticket.
Take Long Way Home for example. A groove riff that Sabbath would be proud off yet has horror movie orchestration, a lounge room jazz feel and some relaxing Caribbean reggae. Yep, it makes no sense yet it’s orgasmic at the same time.
The band has always had an ability to lay a dynamic riff at the right time and in Start The Fire that riff is as incendiary as they come. Naturally the band balance that out with a 80’s dance sounds direct from a Roland synthesiser that were all the rage back when I was a kid.
The sounds of your childhood do slip throughout the album from the 90’s console music inspired of IDK which invokes images of Xanadu with riffs so good your speakers ache.
Shock To The System is a particular enjoyable piece of ‘guess the next genre’ as it spends most of its time sounding like The Human League covering Metallica before diverting into a Rodgers & Hammerstein musical. I shit you not.
Then when you think you nailed the wacky Vic boys of just picking genres out of a giant tombola to mess with you, they actually drop two tracks that don’t jump fences.
Gone has a nice 70’s disco vibe while Culture War is a devils blast of balls out metal. It’s brutal and glorious. Oh, it also has a Mexican mariachi band interlude so that non gene jumping didn’t last long.
By now if you’re a TFN fan you would’ve seen the duet with Tatiana Shmayluk from Jinjer Over And Out which is a cracking song. If you haven’t, watch it. You will hear first hand how talented vocalist Nik Barker is, pitching perfectly with the Ukrainian’s vocals
Then the band leaves us with a simple beautiful acoustic ballad number Tangled which grows into an epic finale. Another example of ‘I wasn’t expecting that’ from the band while being awestruck by their brilliance. A perfect ending.
It’s been a one hit minute since TFN opened their world to us. This album has been worth the wait. You’ll head-bang, you’ll groove, you’ll laugh but most of all you’ll love this album. The boys are indeed back with a vengeance.
Album Review By Iain McCallum