Sound — 9
Being that frontman Joe Sumner is the son of Sting, you might expect the same poppy, romantic croonings. Not so. EWNBOK is a rock album through and through. Sting is a definite influence, but Fiction Plane create their own blend of alternative sounds with a pronounced bass and guitar harmonies. Sumner's vocals complete the package by serving up passionate tenor verses, sounding as though he is about to burst into tears at any moment. Reminiscent of "Boy" and "War" era U2, Fiction Plane offers a slightl post-punk feel, but it's difficult to label them with any particular style. They are passionate, alternative rock with excellent harmonies, driving bass, imporessive beats, and a perfect blend of electric and acoustic sounds, with sad, dissonant ballads ("Fallow", "Sickness") offer a fuller, more versatile sound as they are placed alongside rebellious, assertive anthems ("Hate", "Everybody Lies") and then driven home by introspective, desperate bids for clarity ("Listen To My Babe", "Silence", "Wise"). Melody, rhythm, and each individual instrument has it's chance to shine, which is all well and good: each is so necessary that the music falls apart if you remove any part of it.
Lyrics — 10
As you can guess from the title, "Everything Will Never Be OK" is a very cynical, aggressive album. Themes deal with many issues surrounding young people, including death ("Listen to My Babe", "Sickness"), war ("Soldier Machismo"), acceptance, sex ("Cigarette"), and, once in a while, hope ("Fallow"). The single "Hate" is a very passionate, aggressive track that captures the world at large and the pain human being put eachother through, and is arguably the most infectious track on the album. Sumner's mastery of language and own life experiences is apparant in every song, and one can see where his father comes into play to contribute to his cynicism. Still, though the album dwells in confusion, it also take the initiative to look for the light at the end of the tunnel, even through tracks such as "I Wish I Would Die". The concept of absolute truth, for these guys, seems to make everything wothwhile in the end. The subject matter of the lyrics fits perfectly with the desperate tunes of the music, and Sumner's pronounced English accent just gives the words that much more flare.
Overall Impression — 10
One of the most refreshing things about Fiction Plane is how much of a departure they are from Sting and other Brit-pop bands that FP have evolved out of. They dispense with romance and smooth melodies and trade it for the rebellious and sarcastic whines and riffs of post-punk and alternative rock. Best compared to early U2, Fiction Plane speaks the the young generations, asking all the same questions with the same sound as bands such as Brand New or Arctic Monkeys, but with a much more aggressive, forceful, serious delivery. This is a CD that no one should miss, and the melding of lyrics and music is in a class by itself. Fiction Plane create an identiy all their own to the point where it is really pointless to compare them to anyone else. Buy the CD and see for yourself. "Everything Will Never Be OK" will still be as fresh and impressive the hundredth time around as when you first popped it in.