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Album Review: 'Multiverses' by .Feast

Marcel Thee
Marcel Thee

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Fri, September 15, 2017 | 09:09 am
Album Review: 'Multiverses' by .Feast

'Multiverses' by .Feast (.Feast/File)

Jakarta rock band .Feast are much more than their bluesy-rock surface and oddly-placed punctuation marks.

Formed in 2013, the band quickly garnered momentum with a slew of digitally-released tracks and consistent live shows. They aim to reach new heights with their new single and upcoming album.

On their debut release titled Multiverses, .Feast kicks things off with the first official single from the record; the roaring and fittingly-titled “Wives of / (We Belong Dead)”.

The Japanese text there means Gojira, more popularly known as Godzilla, the legendary Japanese fictional monster whose presence in the song’s lyrics refers to the sense of terror that the members of .Feast see as being part of Indonesia’s current social climate. The Japanese-aesthetic can also be found in the song’s music video and digital cover.

The music video features a loose narrative built around the band’s drummer, Aristo Haryo, who is shown as being addicted to some sort of unexplained substance.

The video sees things from his point of view, mostly showing him lip-syncing the song as more and more psychedelic visuals pop up around him, but for the band, the song and their catalog in general are more than just about shocking visual values; .Feast wants to tackle real issues.

A self-described “convoluted” explanation written in English for the song was handed out with the single’s press release. There, the band ties its theme together as “a satire on conservative/ hardliner religious groups who constantly compete on wanting the apocalypse to come as way to prove which religion’s right (sic),” adding that the Gojira reference is a callback to the original 1954 film, which included “immigration elements in it, and a symbolism of environmental disaster/nuclear meltdown.”

The band came together when its members met as students at the University of Indonesia’s Faculty of Social and Political Sciences.

By all accounts, the members’ initial coming together was not a natural fit.

Vocalist Baskara Putra said that it took time for the band members, some of whom had already played in other groups with each other, to accept each other. There were perceptions of each other’s lack of skills and style that got in the way.

Fortunately, the band held on enough in the shared-appreciation of their musical chemistry.

“We’ve changed as people in the past 4-5 years,” Baskara said, adding that the band now feels gelled together.

By 2014, the band had kick-started themselves into gear, the vocalist said, and began writing, recording and digitally releasing songs on a more consistent basis.

One of those first online releases was “Camkan” (Keep in mind), which indeed kick-started the band’s initial prominence in the underground scene.

The band counted American and British groups such as Queens of The Stone Age, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Kasabian as their key influences, but Baskara considers them to have transcended those obvious influences.

“Since we formed, we have all certainly grown into having distinct influences from each other. Some of us like hip-hop now, some of us like dance rock, and lots of other things. With all of that, we try to conjure up our songs to evoke references that may seem far from our basic music. These may include RnB or even dangdut,” Baskara said.

For Multiverses, the band members say that they took the thematic focus of records such as Beyonce’s Lemonade and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly — both highly critically-adored records from the hip-hop and RnB genres.

The multi-layering of “Gojira” as well as the other tracks on the upcoming Multiverses means that the band might have to use additional players or backing tape and sequencers to promote the record in a live setting.

Baskara said he was excited that the band would be able to present live versions of the songs that would sound different from their recorded counterparts.

Baskara added that the band wanted to make sure that each of the songs on Multiverses would have a distinct flavor from the others. As such, they invited plenty of collaborators to work on it.

“In fact, I don’t know any other local albums that have as many guests as ours,” Baskara said.

Multiverses was recorded in 4 months, though the band needed a few years to work on the material.

“The hardest part was deciding what message we wanted to convey. Because this is something we will have to account for when we grow older,” Baskara said. The socio-political climate, for better or worse, helped inspire them.

“We finally found an ‘enemy’ right in front of us. The way things are going these days got us quite angry and so we decided to build the theme of these 10 songs around that.”

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