F8TLSTK - Above and Beyond

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Previously known as Joe Rainbow while he was in the Boston band the Destroyed, F8TLSTK is the latest stage name from J.D. Jackson. The Destroyed were a punk band and their time was more than 40-years ago (not counting a brief reunion last decade) but some punk ethos survives to show up here as opening cut "Above and Beyond," at heart a synth cut, is swathed in heavy noise that at first seems unlistenable. But given a moment patterns in the noise emerge, F8TLSTK chants "changes" under the discord, and the song ultimately ends with the noise having dissipated. The result is that the listener, thinking "what just happened," has a desire to spin the cut again. The rest of the album is similarly full of intriguing surprise; "Lovequake" begins as a peppy synth love song but about half of the vocals are distorted metal-style, perhaps indicating the good and bad faces of a love relationship, while "Moscow" gurgles along with a dance-oriented electronica beat with F8TLSTK delivering his vocals matter-of-factly. "I'm Not Food" is Gary Numan-esque, the title cut is psycho beat about a professor who commits suicide (that's the "fatalistic" referred to here) and "Syntastic" is a cool synth groove where F8TLSTK plays it more or less straight, eschewing most of the effects that permeate much of the release. This record won't be for everyone but those who "get it" will recognize a real treat here.

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