In a world full of generic pop, listening to The World/Inferno Friendship Society‘s All Borders Are Porous To Cats is a wild experience. And while they have been around since 1996, very few people have been able to categorize their style of music. With a mix-mash of punk, jazz, soul and sometimes even polka, this Brooklyn band is hard to describe but isn’t that the point of The World/Inferno Friendship Society? With anarchistic ideals and cult-like following, the band, headed by the ever wonderful Jack Terricloth, kicks back against the mundane and everyday and creates music that is whole-heartedly just them.
The World/Inferno Friendship Society has the ability to encompass all your senses. While other bands try and pull at your heartstrings with melodic string sections and heartfelt lyrics, The World/Inferno Friendship Society use every tiny part of the creative process to paint a picture. One such example is “The Cat In The Hat Has The Right To Sing The Blues”. With visions of a cat in a top hat crooning to B.B. King, this track takes off in the opposite direction. A bright guitar and ska beat bonce this track into action. It sounds Terricloth’s voice has remnants of LCD Soundsystem but this comparison is quickly muted when the chorus goes full-circus. With visions of tightrope walkers and elephants balancing on large balls, it kind of sounds like the music is swinging you by the ankles, sending your head spinning but also making you smile. It’s an incredible feeling being on a musical rollercoaster, especially when you don’t know what kind of turn it will take next.
Taking a slower pace, “I’ll Be Your Alibi” is an acoustic-backed ballad that is heartfelt and measured. As is their tradition, this track goes against all conventions of the normal love song. While it might sound like a normal ballad, the lyrics are sweet and romantic with questionable ethics. Terricloth brings a new definition to the term ‘I would do anything for love’ with proof of love manifesting itself as lying to the police, crying on TV and providing an alibi. All just to save the one he loves. It might be morally compromised by “I’ll Be Your Alibi” is the love song I never knew I needed.
Listening to The World/Inferno Friendship Society is a bit like looking in on another world. Videos of their concerts and infamous annual Hallowmas extravaganza can be found online and what strikes me about the band and their fans is their ability to make it seem like life can be fun every day. With that much joy, it seems like they are doing something right. “All I Can Do To Help You With Your Nightmares Is To Keep You Up Late” is a guide to happiness and universal truths. It might not be the holy grail to their unconventional approach to music and life but it does give a certain level of hope and calmness, for which I am grateful.
All Borders Are Porous To Cats is their first album in six years. High brow cat humor always gets my attention but what is really striking about this album is their unapologetic examination of freedom and the invisible restrictions around humankind. This album is the musical manifestation of their mindset. Wildly spontaneous, untethered and a whole lot of fun.