The World/Inferno Friendship Society – Just the Best Party

Just when you think you’ve heard everything, along comes a band that totally throws you for a loop. The World/Inferno Friendship Society is one of these bands. They create a sort of pop that just hasn’t been heard much since Nirvana came along and changed the parameters of what was considered pop. In fact, music played with this sort of reckless “anything goes” enthusiasm hasn’t really shown it’s face much since the 80s, has it?
Who knew they still made music like this? The World/ Inferno Friendship Society is (I think) a nine-piece band. Their sound features saxophone, piano, and an accordion. No, before you ask, it’s not ska. In fact, at times it has more in common with a sort of punky polka (especially the track “All the World is a Stage (Dive)”). The singer sports a vaguely British accent and comes across sounding like a deranged Robert Smith. The cleverly titled songs (such as “Zen & the Art of Breaking Everything in this Room” and “Secret Service Freedom Fighting U.S.A.”) swing wildly from chamber music, full-throttle punk rock, sea chantys, new-wave numbers, and everything they can fit in between. Suffice it to say that there’s never a dull moment to be found on this disk. Whether it is your cup of tea or not is another story, but the band is so tight and talented that you may find yourself dancing despite yourself.
This kind of pop is an anomaly these days. In fact, this band would probably be perfectly at home if this record had been released in the 80s. Remember all of those strange bands like Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Wang Chung, Madness, etc.? There was a sense of diversity in that era that seems refreshing (although the actual output of those groups was often annoying). There was a sense that bands could do just about anything, as long as it was something new and different. None of this is to say that this record won’t become a hit with a lot of people. I mean, who thought that the Squirrel Nut Zippers could score a hit? Just the Best Party really does sound like there’s a party going on in the studio, and it’s infectious enough to expand their audience tenfold.