From the name alone, one can instantly tell that Melbourne’s Tropical Fuck Storm is the kind of act you can’t prepare for. Dropping that giant F bomb in the middle of your name suggests a boldness that’s willing to break conventions. Their latest LP Deep States certainly doesn’t disappoint in that regard. Furthermore, the events of the last few years have added even more fire to their already borderless, seemingly chaotic style of rock.
Deep States was written during the first six months of the pandemic, and the chaos and anxiety of those initial times were captured perfectly by the amount of surprises in this record. Tropical Fuck Storm is not glued to a genre, but this whole record has a consistent mood that’s central to this theme. Society is going haywire right now and the sounds and structures of this album captures the pulse of this sentiment. The erratic changes can happen on the genres, shifting between post-punk, funk, jazz, psychedelia and even reggaeton to some degree, or they can manifest on Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin’s vocals alternating between spoken word to soulful belting. Yet even with all the craziness, it still sounds amazing and doesn’t quite fall apart like the society it’s inspired by.
Songs that tackle this malaise include “G.A.F.F” (Give a fuck fatigue), which is about the onslaught of political and social crises we are constantly facing, played over a reggae-funk beat and off kilter melodies that screech and claw their way into mix. “Blue Bream Baby” takes on the attack at the U.S. Capitol. A sinister recounting of one of the incident’s fatalities that was fueled by conspiracy theories. Liddiard’s narration offers a heartbreaking delivery, lamenting on how we ended up in this situation.
Other highlights include “Bumma Sanger”, a funky free-flowing tune that drops bars like: “God gave the germs their dominion / you gotta wonder what he was thinking” and the hook “This was supposed to be a summer banger, but now it’s just another Bumma Sanger.” The witticisms and stream-of-consciousness gems in this record would take too long to inspect, and is always a pleasant surprise once they arrive – even after multiple listens.
Centerpiece “The Donkey” is my pick for strongest in the album. A slow-burning rock opus where TFS goes dramatic, theatric and just overall flexes their creative freedom on a seven minute run. Tropical Fuck Storm sings and weaves together chaos in their latest album, but its one that evokes endless beauty and wonder.