Release Date: Nov 6, 2015
Record label: Mexican Summer
Remember that band that you were going to start? You guys were going to get together to make party music and just have a great time playing raging guitar solos at backyard BBQs. Oh, and your friends happened to be Brad Truax from Interpol; Kid Millions, Barry London, and Papa Crazee of Oneida; insanity guitarists Mike Bones and Matt Sweeney of Chavez (and a billion other bands); and Jesper Eklow of Endless Boogie. You guys messed around about a decade ago and finally got together in '10 to record that EP.
While they love to spout their talking points about how they're an "anti-band," the truth about Soldiers of Fortune -- the noisy and chaotic indie rock supergroup featuring members of Interpol, Oneida, Chavez, and Endless Boogie -- is a little less glamorous. Soldiers of Fortune are a jam band, pure and simple, but unlike 90-percent of acts that fit that description, SoF have no use for laid-back, Grateful Dead-styled noodling; instead, these guys stomp their way through hard rock- and boogie-influenced changes (with a dash of punk for seasoning) until they happen upon something like a melody, and then hone in on it and try to shape the mass of guitars and drums into something like a proper song. At least that's what the members of Soldiers of Fortune have to say about their work, and their second album, 2015's Early Risers, sure sounds like it came together that way.
Encompassing members of Interpol and Oneida, with the notable guest vocalists including Stephen Malkmus and Cass McCombs, Early Risers sounds like it was fun to make, a ramshackle meeting of minds on a mission to produce a record indebted to shred. If you’re a music lover who never tires of hearing a fretboard being abused shrilly, each of the 10 long tracks on the Soldiers’ second album will tick all your boxes. If you’re expecting something concise, look elsewhere.
Soldiers of Fortune — a supergroup made up of various members of Oneida, Chavez, Endless Boogie, Zwan (RIP), and even one touring member of Interpol (among assorted others) — have consistently and insistently referred to themselves as an anti-band. That means no rehearsing, no writing ahead of recording, and almost no live shows, save for one week spent opening for Black Dice in England. According to band (sorry, anti-band) mastermind and jack of all trades Matt Sweeney, the collective would show up, “jam for about eight hours and what was recorded got edited into manageable rock bits.” Predictably, this complete lack of agenda makes for a sophomore effort that’s fascinating as a document, but not so much as a proper album.