Insecure Men - Insecure Men

by Jack Kiser Rating:6 Release Date:2018-02-23
Insecure Men
Insecure Men

In a world full of chaos, pandemonium, and Saul Adamczweski songwriting, one would expect that his debut side project would be an extension from many of his previous experiments. Along with being associated with the rising success of experimental rock band Fat White Family, Adamczweski has channeled influences from the likes of his previous work with the Metros, the Saudis, the Moonlandingz, and the Black Lips (other band members were in this). With the amount of sheer brashness that many of these compositions encompass, it would be straightforward to think that Saul’s breakout side project would detail lawlessness and unrelenting nihilism. While you may be able to find some of these characteristics here, these South London misfits discovered elusive melodies over hushed exotica undertones. This record perfectly exhibits Saul’s thought process without the vociferous swirl of clashing garage rock.

The initial ascent of Insecure Men has been rather staggering and turbulent at times, but it is unfair to say most bands haven’t gone through similar dilemmas. Adamczweski’s most recognized affair has undoubtedly been Fat White Family, attracting various listeners with their primitive lo fidelity selling points. My first impressions seemed to be solidified after I read various articles illustrating the rambunctious cohesiveness and scattershot drug use of the band. Their unstructured songwriting seemed to perfectly align with their barmy engagement in prohibited extracurricular activities. Unfortunately, guitarist Saul Adamczweski found himself at the mercy of crippling dependency, was placed on temporary exile from the band and by late 2015 ultimately made the executive decision to check himself into rehab.  Shortly after his release, Saul found himself in a quagmire, still out of job and only possessing a handful of half-finished fuzzy pop tunes. The challenge that he faced didn’t go unfought, it was asymmetrically whipped back with vengeance and diligent cognition. Adamczweski contacted a former schoolmate, Ben Romans-Hopcraft of rising British rock-soul dynamic Childhood, to collaborate on a comeback debut for the ages. The harrowing rediscovery of Saul’s passion to be in music was soon relayed back to his former band’s label, Fat Possum Records, and by late 2017, their first single “Subaru Nights” debuted for the first time.

This 43 minute debut displays promise and intricacy throughout its track list. The debut single “Subaru Nights” has lush pop choruses with accompaniment of reverbed marimba, hypnagogic percussion, and spurts of 80s synth. Without any hesitation, the latter FWF album played an integral role in inspiration here. “Teenage Toy,” the second single from the project, is the undeniable playlist hit of the record, incorporating curated songwriting structure and evoking ornate melodies. Truthfully speaking, one of my favorite tracks on the record is the next tune “All Women Love Me,” with its woozy King Krule demeanor and subtle addition of bewildering saxophone work. The album continues with its half-witted perspicacious charm with tracks like “Heathrow” and “I Don’t Wanna Dance (with my Baby),” soaring in electronic excellence and tantalizing pop hooks. “Ulster,” “Cliff Has Left the Building,”  “Mekong Glitter” serve as complimentary B-side FWF recordings creating a traumatizing drug-drenched comedown aura.  The wrap-up concludes with arguably the most heavily worked on composition of the record, the trippy gospel opus, “Whitney Houston and I.” It has carefully placed background vocal dubs by Adamczweski, Hopcraft, and a local children’s choir, which is particularly haunting.

Each tune listed for this debut is wrenching in isolation and is more or less a compilation of anthems detailing the mental trivia after a troubling acid experimentation. There are delicate moments displayed here, but a multitude of the tracks were broken and then uncaringly put back together. The conclusive effort had strides of great progress, but many of the tracks seem to bleed together, barely displaying an overall effort to differentiate from past projects. While these may seemingly be harsh words, it shouldn’t be overlooked that this album arguably expresses moments of brilliant complexity. The experimentation is divine and the will to excel is evident, however the addition of Romans-Hopcraft barely makes this a collaborative effort, with the exception of a few rock-ridden tunes. There is plenty to chew on here which requires multiple listens, but at times it feels rather unsettling after swallowed whole.

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