ft (The Shadow Government) – The Black and White Album

ft (The Shadow Government)
The Black and White Album

Rock, post-punk and electronic noise fight and crumple together on The Black and White Album by ft (The Shadow Government). The band is unhappy about the state of the union and they want you to know about it. Of the 13 tracks, six are noise and the remaining seven qualify as songs. All of it is abrasive, even when the band stumbles on to a hook. This album requires a tolerant ear.

ft (The Shadow Government) would do well to put The Black and White Album through a few re-writes. Think of it this way: Bands like to include a hidden track at the end of an album. We’ve all heard them. It’s a chance for the band to go off script, and just throw something out to see if it resonates. Results vary. At best, brief, shining musical coups get spoiled by too much unguided hash. Well, The Black and White Album is an album full of hidden tracks. There are some bright moments, but it’s debatable whether the good parts justify the whole.

This album is by no means a loss. “Forked Tongue (steady groove)” delivers a rollicking beat that gives way to an effective descending chord progression that’s well adorned in brass. It’s not quite infectious but it’s not easily forgotten, either. Another stand out track is “Doubt at the Shevel”, an unforgivingly driven rock wagon that rolls to a stop only when the tank goes dry. “Momo Eat the Tax Man” best personifies The Black and White Album, starting with scraps and ultimately building to nearly anthemic heights.

The remaining songs show potential but often suffer from arrested development. They include “The Greatest Generation Doesn’t Have to Apologize for Anything”, “Piles of Money”, “Wandering Song” and “Only So Many Limo Seats (ft the abominable twitch)”. The rest are ominous variations of electronic noise.

This acrid, and often taxing LP is the second from this oddly named Midwest patchwork of friends and ex-band mates. The revolving members contribute various instrumentation, including brass. The result should be approached with an open mind.