Let’s be perfectly honest: I’ve been sitting on this one for a while. Too long a while. But then, when brilliance really strikes you – and I mean SHEER brilliance, with all the luminosity and force of a supernova just a light-year away – well, words are harder to form, see.
Who are the Bastards of Fate? Gremlins. Flutes. Flurries of quirky sounds (the old ringtone intro on ‘Chromosome‘ cracks me up EVERY TIME) and the blackest stew of beastly beat imaginable. A carnival long abandoned and left to the elements. Try sneaking on the dusty grounds of ‘One True Love‘ at nightfall and you’re likely to be eaten by a grue.
Simple labels fall short – you’ll have to compound hybrid after hybrid until, after toiling 12 hours without rest (but plenty of caffeine), you’ll have a new word to present the press. But what? What captures both the host train rattle of ’Identity Theft‘, or the dancehall ravaging ‘Own It‘, or the haunted skiffle fanfare (with its doorbell breakdown) of ‘Go No Further‘?
Oh, yes, The Bastards of Fate have precedents, but not the typical indie lineage. The baroque prog circus of Cardiacs comes to mind. And the whole Urgh! A Music War documentary, with its surreal new wave visions of the future, could be a likely launching pad, from the wired Wall of Voodoo to endearingly ridiculous (hyper-80s, I always thought) Oingo Boingo. But then where does ‘Credit‘ stand in that continuum, a dense swirling whirlpool of cyanide that sucks you deeper and deeper into its warbly depths until you’re down in the inky center –
You act like I starve you / Like I starve you / and I do
Now you’re in the thick of the labyrinth. I’m afraid we lost the compass three songs ago. An axe-wielding troll awaits somewhere in these halls. And what’s that crumbling sound behind us…? Oh snap. Run! RUN! At the closing track, ‘Optometrist‘, you’ll fly madly through the hall of mirrors, fleeing the vague shadows creeping behind you, but NO USE – phantoms will laugh in your face, from every angle, until…!
Intrigued? You better be. Besides, as all us dungeon-crawlers know, the richest treasures lie hidden by the trickiest puzzles. And this one’s a doozy. So grab your lantern. We’re going down.