Sunday, 6 September 2015

Album Review: CFIT - Throwaway Survival Machine

CFIT - Throwaway Survival Machine

CFIT, 'Dust Silhouettes'

Info: CFIT is the performance name of Dublin songwriter Noël Duplaa who will be launching their sophomore album, Throwaway Survival Machine, this coming Friday, 11th of September, in The Grand Social in Dublin. CFIT began in bedrooms and homemade studios, as what was originally a side project for Noël Duplaa, gradually evolved into a lush and ornate collection of woozy, bruised, melancholy anthems. Playing their first gig at Electric Picnic 2010 as a three-piece, CFIT expanded to a five-piece just in time to play Hard Working Class Heroes 2010, where they were received extremely well. Soon after, they released their debut single "Don't Sweat the Small Shit", which received worldwide reviews. CFIT's debut album Triage was also very favourably received upon it's release and the launch at Crawdaddy was a sell-out, despite the fact that Throwaway Survival Machine is not due for release until the end of next week, work has already started on the third album, CFIT vs. Gravity which is due for release in 2016.

Neol Duplaa CFIT
Photo with kind permission by: Hazel Coonagh Photography

There are many well-known and talented Irish acts who garner a full head of steam within Irish music writing circles, some new and some who have been knocking around for a bit. The latter can at times, tend to receive praise mostly based on their past repertoire when it comes to new releases, when I see effusive reviews in large quantities naturally you are eager to check it out, and a lot of the time I'm left scratching my head. I'll point out that this isn't often, but it is regular enough to be noticeable, perhaps inevitable given the small island we inhabit. What's my point? My point is that two swallows don't make a spring, and two to three good songs don't make a great, or even in certain cases, good album. 

When I first sat down to listen to CFIT's latest album I had only heard his previous music through the series of live videos he had released sequentially over the summer, one of which, 'Coke and Spiriters', featured here at the start of July, and of course the above single, 'Dust Silhouettes'. My modus operandi for album reviews in particular is to never read another music site's review beforehand, only afterwards, I don't want to (a) prejudice my own listening or (b) remove observations I've made because someone else has made the same or similar. While I could undoubtedly see that Noël Duplaa was a talented musician and song-writer, and in recent weeks that Throwaway Survival Machine was getting rave reviews across the board, I went in nice and cold, but hoping it wasn't hype over substance. All I can say after listening to the album is that all of the kind words written about CFIT's latest release are entirely warranted, and I'm glad there are many other reviewers who have acknowledged that so whole-heartedly. 

CFIT, 'Don't Be Discouraged'

Throwaway Survival Machine is in the first place, beguiling, completely unexpected things happened from opening to close, you are bundled into a van, taken on a ride and then dropped off in the middle of nowhere left trying to make sense of it all. Opening track 'Salvo' deceptively leads you to believe that you are embarking on an ethereal post-rock voyage in the mould of Sigur Rós' Agaetis Byrjun, and it's just as enchanting as the Icelandic acts early work. Without delay you are dispatched from your slumber by the chaotic and hi-octane thrust of 'Dust Silhouettes', CFIT catapult your mind through the stratosphere with the relentless punk-like drumming and guitar riffs, in ways it's also the opening salvo, to use the previous track's title, in an underlying expression of frustration that attaches itself to some of the album's lyrics songs. 

'Don't Be Discouraged' holds on to this feeling, expressed at a slower pace, the line; '...these fickle fucks are always black-balling someone, when, come on, there's nothing here you could hang your standard from', a general statement or an anti-establishment reference to the lack of trust we've become accustomed to with the powers that be here, the deflation, the apathy. CFIT then moves to sooth and reassure on the beautifully delivered and sincere 'Aprés Moi, La Deluge'. The slow build-up to the triumphant finale is nailed on, think The Polyphonic Spree's joviality with Volcano Choir's nuances and you have Noël Duplaa's craft-work embodied in a single piece of music, the talent is screaming out on this one. 

The end of sixth track 'Toska' which rolls into 'All That is Solid Melts Into Air' was arresting, the guitar progression and effect like some delightfully dirty sequence you'd expect from Prince, it's richly thick and god I wanted to hear it for longer. The mania resumes on 'The Lack of Shark', senses are scraped at and chaos abounds before another stylistic change is introduced on the highly enjoyable grunge-like 'Vitamin C', you're being thrown around the back of the van at this stage. The album closes with a mini-opus in the shape of 'Tell Me I'm Okay', having off-loaded frustration with confidence through the preceding tracks, the protagonist seeks assurance at the last, it's a dramatic, string-laden and uplifting song, despite the insecurities the title may be interpreted as having.

While there is no pretension or inference to being the voice of a generation, I couldn't help conclude that, thematically at least, Throwaway Survival Machine, is a timely album, not quite a calling card for disaffected youth, but acknowledging that, 'Things are shit, don't worry, do something about it'. Musically it is an absolute joy with CFIT managing to throw a wide array of sounds and feelings into just over 30 minutes of music, in that respect it's a triumph, it's also going to be one of the Irish album's of the year, and beyond.

CFIT's Throwaway Survival Machine album launch is this coming Friday at The Grand Social, more details below. Pre-order the album here. 

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Noel CFIT Album Launch The Grand Social Dublin

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