ALBUM REVIEW: Left Field Messiah - In Praise of Bombast

ALBUM REVIEW: Left Field Messiah - In Praise of Bombast

What do you get when musicians from two different pop-tinted indie bands, Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat) and Erik Janson (Wildling), get together with a member of a pop band? Jeremy Ruzumna (Fitz and The Tantrums) The answer is a dance led ambience, or more specifically, a rallying cry to document their impulsive, weird, eclectic and even ugly ideas.

Whether it’s the fast-paced writing process of this LP, there are perplexities and contradictions from the outset despite the instant catchiness of these nine tracks. On track two, “Fuzz Machine”, Left Field Messiah lament about how “I'm a wreck (wreck) Cuz rock is dead” but seldom a guitar chord can be heard across the album opener “Are You Ready”. By the time “Fuzz Machine” opens, Left Field Messiah are ready for guitars with blues sounding riffs that dissipate within seconds, making way for power pop drums and synth cacophonies. Subtle guitar riffs, organs and a plethora of unassuming sounds then join them to feed a dance compulsion.

The feelings of summer with a compulsion to dance are also felt across “Hotnight Hits” with instant funk, new wave and 80s and 90s club synths. The vocal distortions borrow from a quirky spectrum. ”Classic Feeling”, is probably the most instant song about searching for that moment in time that makes us feel most at home. It falls into a catchy style of instant summer pop like DNCE with a blend of Jason Mraz. Ironically, “Feels like Summer” is not an invitation call to the dancefloor; instead, with 80’s synths, dramatic drums and Kenny G style saxophone, it’s the ideal candidate as an incidental track for the next season of “Stranger Things”.

Whilst there are instant songs providing a soundtrack for the young to pull on the dancefloor whilst others stand stoic with their hands in their pockets in bitter bewilderment, other songs are unassumingly sensitive and thoughtful.  Although “AM Moonlight” chills things down with funk and acoustic guitar with experimentation producing a seductive serenading feel; it’s lyrically open and vulnerable with “But I'm afraid to show Where my mind has been And where it goes When I'm alone without you” and “Without the girl, I know I crumble and I melt like snow”. “Young Libertine”, also chilled with dance beats and occasional funk riffs, is all about the music: “Don't throw me out like's November Vice Magazine” and being “Miles from my band Clinging to your hands Tangled up in venues chasing other people's plans”.

Whilst all the songs are instantly catchy, not straying far from home beyond three minutes long, all are diverse and the antithesis of each other. The most antithetical is the penultimate “Pink Flamingos” and playout “Golden Love”. “Pink Flamingos” fuses dance, funk and reggae with Motown productions for the chorus about “needing a miracle to save me” is sung in the style of Lou Reed. Without warning, “Golden Love”, the only indie track on this LP, takes over. This acoustic backed psychedelic acid trip song with funk and prominent drums ends unexpectedly without concluding. Whilst frustrating, the listener is left with an unquenchable thirst for more of Left Field Messiah.

It’s hard to predict how people will react to Left Field Messiah and the longevity of this supergroup, but for Jeremy Ruzumna’s efforts alone, applause is much deserved.

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