Having spent a fair amount of time in my life sitting in churches and listening to a wide variety of preachers speaking (primarily to the already converted), I have a special little place in my heart for the clichéd idiom that is the street preacher. These folks are never without a soapbox, whether literal or figurative, as they seek to convince the greater world around them that we’re all headed in a very scary direction. They have the inherent (and annoying) ability to reduce complex theological ideas to mere sloganeering in hopes of catching the attention of at least one passerby. But what I do find appealing is the strange mixture of intestinal fortitude and utter lack of shame that allows such people to stand up tall to preach their beliefs at others with an unrelenting spirit in the face of opposition and indifference.
And this is what I hear in the music of Victor! Fix The Sun – an irrepressible, in-your-face attitude that desires to show you that there is a different way, a way that’s contrary to the status quo. Admittedly, this Grand Rapids, MI-based trio is more interested in subverting typical rock-n-roll formulas than saving our eternal souls, but the passions come from the same place. With Person Place Or Thing, these three gentlemen combine aspects of punk, hardcore, and math rock into a loud, aggressive postcore aggregate that brings to mind At The Drive In and Dischord Records.
What really allows for the street preacher metaphor to work here is that band’s sound features repetitive lyrics and musical themes bellowed with a furious intensity that leaves the listener with an uncomfortable, disquieting feeling in his/her gut. Victor! Fix The Sun is no feel-good preacher hoping to give you warm fuzzies in your belly and woo you with pie-in-the-sky promises; what we have here is an itinerant evangelist existing primarily on coffee, cigarettes, anger, and adrenaline.
Yet, despite the presence of heavy, thunderous instrumentation, Person Place Or Thing suffers from a relative thinness in texture and a precipitous mood, as if the band is perched on a cliff and is ready to jump. Moreover, with three tracks of six minutes or more, ones that could and should have been broken up into smaller, more digestible chunks, it appears that the band attempted to cram too many ideas into only six songs. Like that tired, wandering soul with his “me-against-the-world” mentality, trying so diligently to do all he can with what time he has left, there’s often very little dense meat on the bones of this music, and what remains is tough and stringy from overuse and a lack of rest.
Please don’t misunderstand me – there’s much that I do enjoy with the music of Victor! Fix The Sun. Namely, it’s the group’s unwavering, persistent spirit, one that screams out, “I want you to hear what I have to say, whether you want to hear it or not!” I need voices like that in my music and in my life, as I have difficulty employing such a voice myself. Unfortunately, like those same street preachers with their simple, black-and-white sermons that are bereft of nuance, Person Place Or Thing can only scream in my ears for so long before I ignore it, content to file the record away on my shelves until I think I need to hear its stark, dark message once again.