Thursday, April 17, 2014

Antarctigo Vespucci - 'Soulmate Stuff'

My initial reaction to Antarctigo Vespucci was "Holy crap. This is exactly the collaboration between artists that I never knew I needed." Given that Antarctigo Vespucci is made up of dear friends / punk celebrities Chris Farren and Jeff Rosenstock, I'm sure plenty of people had that exact same thought.

Soulmate Stuff, the debut mini-LP (or is it just an EP? I can never tell), bridges the gap between the indie melodies of Fake Problems' Real Ghosts Caught on Tape and the summery fuzz of Bomb the Music Industry!'s Vacation. Not that the gap between those two albums was really that large, and if you think that there's a whole lot of difference between those records you really should listen to Soulmate Stuff and hear how wrong you are for yourself.

"100 Years" is a nice, slow opener. Given that it's just an acoustic guitar and Farren, it could easily be mistaken for a new Fake Problems song (or at least a demo). "Sometimes" has more of a kick to it, and it also has that "Fake Problems" feel to it- not a complaint at all, seeing as how it's been far too long since Fakey P has put out a new album, but upon first listen it was kind of confusing as to why this wasn't just marketed as a new Fake Problems album produced by Rosenstock. Maybe that's how it originally came to be. Or maybe I'm just dumb. It's still an amazing song though.

The sequence of "I'm Giving Up on U2", "Guest List Spots", and "Don't Die in Yr Hometown" make up the real meat of Soulmate Stuff. "I'm Giving Up on U2" is huge, turning the fun to 11, and demands to be shouted loudly from a car with the windows down. Or at least I imagine that would be the ideal way to listen to the song... I don't drive. "Guest List Spots" finds the perfect balance of a Fake Problems chord progression and a Bomb the Music Industry! vocal melody and even tosses Laura Stevenson on backing vocals for good measure. It's also notable for being the only song here that really features Jeff singing lead (for half a verse). Meanwhile, "Don't Die in Yr Hometown" could have easily fit on Vacation. In fact, if it wasn't for Farren's vocals, I'd say that it was pulled directly from that album.

The momentum built up during those three songs takes a brief break during "100 Years 2: 200 Years", a variation of the opening track as the title suggests, before coming back for one final banger. Soulmate Stuff ends on the high note that is "Bang!", featuring guest guitars from former Fake Problems guitarist Casey Lee, and a chorus so big that lives up to its title.

If there are any downsides to Soulmate Stuff, it would be that these seven songs barely fill up 20 minutes. It doesn't seem like Farren and Rosenstock's friendship is going to end any time soon, so I'm sure that there will be more material by Antarctigo Vespucci in the future, but for now it just feels like there's not enough. Even if it was just like three or four more songs. I'm greedy.

In summation: This album rules and it arrived just in time for the changing of the seasons. Stop wasting your time and just download it already.

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