Now, it’s been a good while since I’ve done a review for the Bad Elephant Music label. I’ve been very busy listening to a lot of music. When I say a lot, I mean a LOT. Now it’s been three years since Trojan Horse have released some new music after the release of their 2014 album, World Turned Upside Down. I’ve always wanted to find out and discover what the band will think of next.
Not only that, but it was my introduction to the label of Bad Elephant Music when I bought the album on Wayside Music two years ago. This year, Trojan Horse are back in action with the release of their new album entitled, Fukushima Surfer Boys. Now, mind you, when I first heard the name of their new album. It almost sounded very funny. Very much like it was named after one of the Troma films from the 1980s in their heyday of grossed-out films and slasher films.
But with Trojan Horse, they have some humor in them, which works very well. On here, it shows a futuristic post-punk, post-rock, pop, and experimental flavor that gives a door opening to this whole other universe of what is behind that locked door that no one ever, ever goes near.
Not only that, but it’s the who’s who on here. You have Kavus Torabi (Gong, Knifeworld, Guapo) on Guitar, Marillion bassist Pete Trewevas, and Doves’ Jimi Goodwin. And it begins to dawn on me to open that door and see what the Duke brothers have up their sleeve.
The Modern Apothecary is Trojan Horse’s nod to both Knifeworld and the Cardiacs rolled up to a gigantic smoothie. It has a dystopian carousel and amusement park amazement with odd time signatures along with stop-and-go moments with help from Torabi’s guitar getting to set the controls by making the jump to light speed as the midsection goes towards the infinite universes as Goodwin sets the coordinates in the styles of mid-to-late ‘70s era of Hawkwind.
Now when I listened to How You Gonna Get By? It has the beginning of a killer anthem. You have this textures between double drum tracks, ascending melodies turned into a psychedelic approach thanks to a Beatlesque keyboard section as it turns back for the shop to go for another round towards the galaxy reminiscing late ‘70s/early ‘80s of Queen and the Power Pop genre of the 1970s.
For the band, it’s almost as if they wrote this track for the adult-animated 1981 cult classic, Heavy Metal. Then, there’s I Wanna See My Daddy. With a bass-picking introduction, the style has a cross between post-punk, ‘80s pop, and new wave atmosphere. It’s quite interesting for Trojan Horse to delve into that pool for going into an approach that will make you close your eyes and imagine this song being used as the end credits for Satoshi Kon’s 1997 anime masterpiece, Perfect Blue.
It’s part Joy Division, part Beach Boys, and Simple Minds. But the 10-minute composition of The Ebb C/W Solotron is a futuristic adventure of electronic music for them to show more than just their progressive side in their music. It also gives them a chance for them to give some “free rein” and it works quite well by heading towards into a vision of the future. It’s kind of like a video game score for the Nintendo Entertainment System honoring Wendy Carlos near the end section of the piece.
Junk #3 and Junk #1 remains a mysterious composition. With its psychotic guitars going through different hay wiring effects followed by screeching noises and reverb/delay effects with a Vangelis Blade Runner-sque score as the calming vocals go from one plane to another following alarming sections that will make your arm hair go up. But it’s The Shapes that it makes really surreal, strange, and hypnotic.
It sees Trojan Horse going deeper into the genre of Musique-Concrete/droning sound with an Avant-Garde twist between the styles of Pierre Henry, The Faust Tapes, Terry Riley and Steve Reich having BBQ with John Cage for the electronic madness of insanity with some spoken-word dialogue. Trojan Horse’s Fukushima Surfer Boys (what a title!) is a very interesting release.
I’ll admit, this was not an easy album to listen from beginning to end. But they’ve got something up their sleeves and it may not be for the faint of the heart and I’ll keep listening to it more and more. It’s one of those albums that will grow on you and who knows what the Duke brothers will come up with next.