Alcoholic Faith Mission, apparently, is not a reference to overindulgence. Instead, it is a nod to an “Apostolic Faith Mission” sign the band’s founding members – Thorben Seiero Jensen and Sune Solund – saw in Brooklyn at the outset of their musical journey.
Let This Be The Last Night We Care is the Copenhagen outfit’s third LP to date, its predecessor 421 Wythe dividing blog opinion with its experimental tendencies. After all, it’s better to provoke a reaction – good or bad – than to nurture ambivalence. Or is it?
With the bulk of 421 Wythe’s tracks forming the soundtrack of Canadian independent movie Point Traverse and the band citing Broken Social Scene as an influence, Alcoholic Faith Mission have defined their position on the musical spectrum by refusing to define it: theirs is a collaborative, improvising approach, tracks often practiced minimally and recorded only once.
The result is a trademark sound both considered and spontaneous, songwriting both immediately gratifying and gradually revealing, all helped along by production skilful yet hands-off. Such an amalgam of instrumentation must tempt endless tweaking, but it is a vice well resisted by the Danish five-piece.
Let This Be The Last Night We Care begins with Put The Virus In You, a track that builds carefully on an evocative piano melody, the vocals fed through an ethereal aquatic effect in a move that sets the tone for what is to follow: the ear is irresistibly drawn in.
My Eyes To See immediately raises the bar with its considered crescendo erupting into a pounding drive that seems to nod at that other great Canadian collective – Arcade Fire – without stepping too forthrightly into borrowed territory.
Closer To Dallas, meanwhile, completes the mix-tape philosophy of “start high, take it higher, then take it down a notch” with fairy-like vocals – sat somewhere between Sigur Ros and Mum – wrought over whispering echoes and an irresistibly simple guitar melody.
The album then shrewdly veers away from a full-blown descent into slow-paced introspection: the unusually titled Got Love? Got Shellfish! – despite a curious passing resemblance to Sigue Sigue Sputnik‘s Love Missile F1-11 – manages a convincing stab at angry resentment, contrasting its tracklist siblings with pulsating keys and a yelled refrain.
Nevertheless, it is with the reigns held tightly that Alcoholic Faith Mission are most likely to covert you. The appropriately named Sobriety Up And Left provides the band with their aural zenith, its glorious, slow burning crescendo nothing short of glorious; its payoff nothing less than heartbreaking (“Sober now / It’s not too late to be with you”).
Season Me Right treads similar territory, reading like a poetic Hawksley Workman ballad, while Education affords the band’s experimental nature greater breathing space, its leftfield approach trading on the listener’s investment to this point. More than indulgence, however, it is one of the album’s most rewarding tracks.
And further highlights remain: the succinctly executed The You, That You Could Use betrays a penchant for alt-folk, while album closer Honeydrip scales the aural heights by sounding like The Big Pink covering Fleetwood Mac‘s Seven Wonders. And if that sounds rather great, it’s because it is.
Less divisive than its predecessor but no less intriguing, Let This Be The Last Night We Care is an admirable effort from a provocative band with interesting influences and a refreshing approach; more than reason enough to afford it a spin to see what you can make of it.