Slash / Warner Brothers, 1996
Ahhh. The 90's. Who would have thought I would look back on a decade, in which I labored through so many awkward adolescent years, with such fondness. I've said it before and will continue to do so. The best music, all genres included, was produced during the 90's. Failure's Fantastic Planet is no exception. This is an album that I recently rediscovered while sifting through my iTunes, and I have been listening to it quite a bit. Quite a bit meaning that it's pretty much melted itself into the CD player in my car (except for when I dislodge it to rock some Botch.) This was their third and final record and it is one of the most solid and consistent albums, beginning to end, that I have ever heard. I guess you could label these guys "alternative", but that's way too easy and a total cop out. Failure as a band was so superior to similar bands of that era that it's a crime they never made it big. It seemed like every band with a distortion pedal and greasy hair could get a record deal in the 90's, while truly talented bands like Failure, Hum and Walt Mink were lost in the shuffle and banished to obscurity, only to be revered by the odd hipster or music nerd.
Failure's heavy, laboring riffs and spacey lead lines are f**king heaven to these jaded ears. Failure and Andrews painstakingly produced this record themselves, fine tuning and tweaking every aspect and in doing so created a "space rock" masterpiece. This kind of music truly just doesn't exist anymore. The dark, ethereal feel of the album is most likely a result of Andrews' drug use at the time, with many songs serving as metaphors for heroin. God, that is so 90's.
It's a shame that most people today think that "Stuck on You" is a Paramore song. But don't judge these guys by the bands who covered them. With tracks like "Saturday Saviour", "Smoking Umbrellas", "Blank", "Stuck on You" and "The Nurse Who Loved Me" (which was covered by A Perfect Circle), this thing's a winner.
Maybe the 90's weren't as special as I like to think they were (although I highly doubt it). However, this record is special and anyone who appreciates music from that time should own it.