The double album – a creative peak or a self-indulgent transgression? They’re a trial of intensity and concentration, demanding of the artist and the listener. And they’re mostly hit and miss. In fact, you could list the essential double albums on two hands and still have digits spare.
Now, the thought of a sixteen-song-long, near 75-minute double album does not make me want to bounce around the living room. It’s a big investment of time, and you can’t just dip in and out. Nor can you realistically listen to it on your commute (unless your commute is unusually long, or the double album is by The Locust). So imagine my surprise at Sioux Falls’ rather excellent ‘Rot Forever’ which has just found itself a vacant finger on my double album list.
You see, for its entire meandering run-time, not only does ‘Rot Forever’ keep your attention – and mesmerizingly so – but once it’s finished it wants you to repeat the experience, teasing you with the promise of more spectacular moments to make your head spin or your spirit swoon.
There’s two very distinct styles to ‘Rot Forever’, and they marry beautifully throughout. There’s the raw, frustrated, pent-up aggression displayed on cuts such as opener ‘3 Fast’, which includes the suckerpunch payoff: “Man, I know you’ve got some fucked up thoughts, but you broke her jaw when she broke your heart.” In all seriousness, if you’re writing lyrics as powerful as that – lyrics that make you want to set the world to rights – you’re doing something right.
But then there’s this grungy, alt-rock slacker spirit that’s conversational in tone and unfocused in nature, taking in everything from popular culture (references abound, including ‘True Detective’, ‘South Park’ and ‘Halo 2’) to the idea of just lying around in your boxers all day ( ‘The Winner’).
Combined, it means there’s this undercurrent of anxiety and anger to the superficial fluff; a gallows humour to finding yourself in some pretty shitty situations or facing the reality that life as a grown-up isn’t all fun and games. The benefit of such an approach is that for near-on 75 minutes Sioux Falls have delivered a freewheeling, 90s-style alt-rock delight.
Never maudlin or depressing, oddly uplifting and unexpectedly triumphant, ‘Rot Forever’ is a real rough gem that deserves (a lot) of your precious time and attention.
’Rot Forever’ by Sioux Falls is out now on Broken World Media.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)