When previously well established musicians set out to create side projects, interesting and creative things can end up happening — or it can fail miserably and ultimately hurt an artist’s ego. There have been many successful side projects that have gone on to become extremely recognizable names while undoubtedly even more have failed miserably. Branching off from an established brand and sound they were known for previously allows musicians full freedom, flexibility and expression of their true self, which is ultimately what the latest project from Matt Fazzi is all about. Known for his work with Facing New York, Taking Back Sunday or the introspective Happy Body Slow Brain, Matt’s latest band and breed of music culminated into Rare Futures. With the band’s much anticipated and long awaited album, This Is Your Brain on Love, due out this Friday (3/25), many questions remained from long awaited fans. How would the transformation into RF sound and would the loyalty and dedication be worth it?
Before delving into the meat of the album, it’s important to note the creative process of the album. Most importantly, it is Matt who composes and records most of the tracks while enlisting the help of different people to record and play the music live. This holistic approach allows for complete creative control, which is ultimately what any artist wants. Also, being the brainchild of a band with a revolving door of musicians is not unheard of, especially in the solo world. Trent Reznor managed to do the same under the moniker of Nine Inch Nails and I think we could all agree that turned out alright.
RARE FUTURES (formerly Happy Body Slow Brain) – The Pressure (Official Video) //// A space adventurer goes on a journey to locate a sapphire life-stone that will revitalize his decaying home planet… VIDEO NOTE: This labor of love took over a year-and-a-half to complete using mostly recycled and found materials and filming in Director Justin Burgos’ garage in Portland, Oregon.
In regards to the album itself, This Is Your Brain On Love doesn’t make for an easy listen, and I say this with the utmost respect. Clocking in at over an hour and containing multiple songs that span 6+ minutes in length, this isn’t an album that has the feel of just throwing on whenever for background listening. This is an album that begs for a fulfilling listen with honest and heartfelt subject matter and is the metamorphosis of so many years and sounds of Matt as a musician, that it deserves your attention. Sound wise, This Is Your Brain On Love blends elements of Jazz, Progressive Rock, and R&B effortlessly into the self-described genre of Groove Rock. Many of the songs feature noodling guitars, swirling synths and hard hitting drums with the crooning vocal style of Fazzi over an ambient sound.
While many of the songs thrive off these sounds at their core, some venture off into the different genres that have ultimately inspired what Rare Futures is. The lead single, “The Pressure”, is a song about the pressures of a relationship and delve into a more epic, almost space-like sound. Then you have other tracks like “Cool My Mind | Reverie” which features a drumming style more reminiscent of mellowed-out Drum & Bass and “Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done” incorporates more Blues tones and stylings. Lastly, the album closer “Not Giving Up Yet” is as the song title dictates; an anthem to ‘not giving up’. This is such a fitting end to the album, with it’s more upbeat, rock nature allow guitars to drive the track in a comparable way to the likes of Muse. The track doesn’t skip a beat until it fizzles out into a single guitar and strings and then a long period of silence before it leads up to the album’s hidden track. The hidden track is nothing more than the video game Streets Of Rage’s opening theme rerecorded by the band.
It’s evident what Fazzi doesn’t want to do and that is to fall under a specific genre; instead he experiments and mixes styles so fluidly that you can’t really justify labeling Rare Futures as something specific. Even the band’s self-proclaimed genre ‘Groove Rock’ can’t fully encompass what Fazzi set out to do with Happy Body Slow Brain & Rare Futures. This is Your Brain On Love is a multi-layered beast that takes time to really feel what it’s about, but when it finally clicks, it makes for a fulfilling and rewarding listen.