These guys have been listening to a little too much Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse, as “Pax Futura” often feels like a tribute to a lot of popular indie culture. Of course, this accusation comes despite the lack of listing Arcade Fire or Modest Mouse as influences on the group’s MySpace page. Otis Redding my ass!
But how much can you expect from a band that adopted its name “from a car accident between Olivia Newton John, and the future prime minister of Rangoon?” Huh? Did that even happen? Google isn’t pulling up anything. But that’s not really a surprise by again glancing at the numerous amounts of absurdity infesting Oliver Future’s MySpace profile.
The band’s music isn’t all bad. They know how to play; they’re just posers. “Happiness Machine” is catchy, with hip-swaying and sing-a-long goodness and “Stranger Than Strange” rekindles the good vibes I would feel from listening to a Sam Roberts record. They’re rocking some heavy bass lines and some fuzzy guitar that treads on the style of The White Stripes.
But while listening to “Pax Futura” I had somewhat of a revelation. Not that Oliver Futura is so amazing that it caused any such revelation, but it was more like “the straw that broke the camel’s back” type of revelation. The third song on the record, “Signing Off,” is a general tirade about the insolence of Americans’ voting behavior and political education. Usually, I would just write this crap off as another preachy ballad from a bunch of nobodies, who are only paying lip service to such issues, and I hate that sort of thing (unless it’s Rage Against the Machine). But I realized that, of the last 20 albums I have listened to, 75% of them have made the same error. It has become apparent that the corrosive environment that is the United States is so ingrained in our skulls, that it has become the second largest cultural zeitgeist behind music today, right behind love and loss. After all, those two are forever and the current situation is not.
Sure, you’re saying, “Politics in music? NO WAY!” But outside of punk rock, politics have always taken a back seat to other such emotional phenomenon. Now that they have become so overbearing, music has actually become an accurate reflection of a mass of people, instead of whatever wacky political agenda the artists may be toting. Not only that, there is also a growing sense of need in personal accountability and maturation, just as “Sign Off” suggests. Something that Americans haven’t put a lot of stock in over the last two decades and we’re all guilty of it. It’s not, “Let’s just blame the government anymore.” It’s, “We need to fix ourselves before we can fix our world.”
Regardless, Oliver Future sucks and “Pax Futura” is a bloated piece of garbage. [By: Dan Brian]
Release Date: July 24, 2007