The Anti-Establishment Ameri-Country-Cana Rocker spends 9 songs reconstructing his style into a glorious melting pot of ‘70s music and synthesizers before finally giving birth to a new soundscape that finds itself at home across multiple genres.
Simpson gave fans a taste of Sound & Fury with the first single “Sing Along”, a rhythmic funk piece that caused a lot of people to take notice that they were in for something new and unexpected– and on that front, Sound & Fury does not disappoint. It’s a great listen on the road, enjoyable from start to finish and features a variety of styles and speeds to keep listeners both entertained and engaged.
When I say the album has its roots firmly planted in the ’70s, I really can’t stress this enough. The sound is fresh and right at home in modern music, but you can hear decade specific influences from Disco, Pop, Punk, Funk, Rock, and Country. There’s also a healthy and brilliant use of effects not only from music but movies and television soundtracks. “A Good Look” provides a great example as it is a fun, high energy cut that will force your body to move. “Last Man Standing” merges Punk with Rockabilly at such a frenetic pace that you have no choice but to strap in and go along for the ride. And the hard-charging guitar riffs on “Best Clockmaker on Mars” go hand in hand with Simpson’s lead-fisted delivery.
The songs are not all “Fury” though.
“All Said and Done” is a softer, more etherial effort that echoes Pink Floyd throughout and “Mercury in Retrograde” (one of the standouts on the album), if slowed down and stripped of its effects, could easily pass as a lost Merle Haggard tune. As in past efforts, Simpson’s lyrics largely focus on things that trouble him both personally and professionally as well as the world at large.
Just to shake things up even more, along with Sound & Fury’s album release comes a Netflix Original anime film that is partially based on a story by Simpson and uses the entire album as a soundtrack. The overarching story deals with the daughter of a samurai seeking revenge on two metaphorical villains for the murders of her father and two fallen sword smiths whose souls imbue the swords she wields. The story plays out over the 40-minute mix of live-action, animation, and other vignettes– the most notable of which follow an enslaved people rising up against their captors with destructive results and a young woman doing her best Marty McFly impression skateboarding across a post-apocalyptic wasteland in a Hazmat suit while collecting trinkets of past lives like a human version of Wall-E.
The anime as a whole is credible but breaks no new ground other than being paired with a unique soundtrack. It’s a fun watch but not something, unlike the album itself, you’ll revisit more than once. In the end, the album is definitely worth checking out and if people struggle to define just what kind of music it represents, they’ll eventually find the answer is pretty simple…
Sound & Fury is GOOD music.