I don’t get what happened to Thomas Erak.
As the primary songwriter for experimental, post… whatever-core group The Fall of Troy, I am pinning him for the responsibility of the aberration that is In The Unlikely Event.
Here’s why it doesn’t make any sense:
2003 – Fall of Troy releases self-titled debut. Great freakin’ record.
2004 – Fall of Troy releases the Ghostship demos in an attempt to be mysterious and concept albumy. They are incredible.
2005 – Fall of Troy releases Dopplegänger. One of 2005’s best albums of the year.
~2005 to ~2007 – Fall of Troy lords massive tours, has songs on Guitar Hero and other game soundtracks, plays every festival possible, and in general dominates the post-hardcore scene.
2007 – Fall of Troy releases Manipulator. It is a tremendous disappointment. To this day, I cannot listen to anything off that record more than “Ex-Creations.”
2008 – Fall of Troy releases Phantom on the Horizon, an updated and re-recorded version of the original Ghostship demos. Some of the songs are better in their original form, but some actually are even better. I am pleased.
2009 – Fall of Troy releases In The Unlikely Event to critical indifference.
2010 – Fall of Troy breaks up. Fans longing for a bygone era (me) don’t care.
There is a moment on the song “Nobody’s Perfect,” which lands at number 9 on Unlikely’s track list, where Erak sets in with some falsetto singing. This polarizing moment summarizes my opinion of the last 4 years of the band’s output and existence in just 6 words:
What the fuck are you doing.
For someone like Erak, who is one of the great technical guitarists of our generation (and shut up about his pedals, the man can still make a guitar sing without them), to deviate so drastically from a form that wasn’t just working, but killing everything else in the genre at the time… I don’t get it. I never will.
The prog and math elements of the group all but shriveled up, neutered into a cheap Tom Morello cover band. Just Tom Morello, all the time. Meanwhile, there are literally children who are writing better lyrics than those heard on In The Unlikely Event.
And for the sake of all involved, I will say that you should only look up the words to songs like “A Classic Case of Transference” or “People and Their Lives” if you are, I don’t know, a masochist.
I only have this because I am a completist, but this is not just a low point in a once revered band’s career, it is probably the strongest negativity I’ve felt toward an album all year, breaking my own self-imposed rules of bashing.
Instead of a song from this album, I’ll leave you with a sage tweet from David Bazan, that undoes everything I’ve just said –
Standout tracks: I don’t know. I am tempted to say none of them here. I guess “Panic Attack!” That breakdown at the end of “Nobody’s Perfect” isn’t bad either. And Rody Walker’s (Protest the Hero) appearance on “Dirty Pillow Talk” buoys that track.
Weakest track: ~47.5 of its 52 minutes.
RIYL: Clearing out room for other albums. Cleansing breaths after bad experience. Or Krispy Kreme donuts. I’ll take those over a cleansing breath any day.
Link: No one needs this.