On Friendship Nation, the four drummers/vocalists of Foot Village -- Citizen Miller, Citizen Taylor, Citizen Rowan, Citizen Lee -- scream ideologies so loud you'll think lyrics like "Fuck God/ It's a government's job to be nothing like Him" and "For the vengeance and the right/ To take your life I will now fight" are more threatening than didactic. Indeed, their lyrics aren't poetic billets-doux; they're indictments. They're unabashed canons of commentary, letting loose on big targets like religion, culture, politics, even diet. While most artists shout for style, Foot Village shout to be heard. However, underneath the political baggage and below their towering, puffing-out-the-chest performances, you'll find music that's dangerously incisive and deceptively fun.
Friendship Nation is about the conceptual founding of a new nation, based on their research of other countries (see their debut album Fuck The Future). Concept albums get your goat? Thankfully, some of the lyrics are just as relevant and applicable to current capitalist critiques. But if you can embrace their silly, idiosyncratic approach and indulge in their fantasy world, you'll find their clamor much more enjoyable. From the strange ("No light but the spark of your spin/ As I rip it from your skull") to the downright bizarre ("Where ever you want/ Whenever you want/ You have the right to go pee"), Foot Village's furrowed foreheads extend into a sort of schizophrenic hyperreality, without delving too far into surrealism or softening its sharp edges.
Despite its actual complexity, the music sounds relatively basic. (Foot Village choose not to use electronics.) Sure, there are aesthetic sacrifices when relying on four drummers and vocals as a foundation -- it obviously doesn't lend well to variety, texture, or range, and any harmonies are either accidental or of the atonal variety -- but what get emphasized instead are group dynamics and the kind of bluntness usually obscured by multi-layering, digital processing, or other hierarchical devices. Foot Village consequently thrive on their communal aspects, distancing themselves from naïve ritualism and working toward mutual catharsis. In fact, an audience member at one of Foot Village's recent gigs broke down and started "uncontrollably crying" at the sheer cathartic energy of their performance. This music is painfully exposed.
With the illusion of regression one could glean from their lyrics and musical approach, it's not surprising to see the word "primitive" tagged onto Foot Village's music. But their sound is engaging, lively, and confrontational, reflecting a negotiation with culture, not a retreat. This ain't music to hum to; this is music to purge to. Never mind the aggressive connotations of their music or its territorial lyrics; Foot Village sound celebratory and inclusive, and the attack of a drumstick against a drumskin is something that can more easily transcend borders than the harmonic totality with which Western music is typically obsessed. If you're bored with the transparent artifice of the majority of songwriting, Foot Village will be a prolonged respite from your typical listening habits.