Review – “The Decline of Stupid Fucking Western Civilization” – Jordaan Mason

reviewed by Laura Stanleya1677572132_2 

The Decline of Stupid Fucking Western Civilization is an emotional self-exploration for Jordaan Mason. Produced thanks to a successful Indiegogo campaign, The Decline is a “call-to arms for a better, queerer world” set to experimental folk and rock, erring on punk, sounds. It’s a challenging listen but a rewarding one.

A reason why it’s such a demanding listen is that the songs range from 5 minutes to thirteen and move between numerous different styles, tempos, and moods. Mason has not made these songs easy to digest. “Eulogy” for example begins in a, surprisingly, poppy way before ushering in a much more brooding instrumental section filled with fuzz and guitar solos. Instead Mason tells vivid personal stories with no cause to leave anything out.

In the title track, Mason sighs and groans exhausted from the numerous mental health and health issues Mason plagued with. The scattered guitar notes that later dissolve into chaos mirror their distress. “Liturgy Part Two” similarly begins with a minimal guitar work that allows the stark and graphic recounting of abusive relationships to fully be heard.

From an instrumental perspective, “Pharmacy” and “Stop Walking Start Swimming” are the most accessible tracks from The Decline. In “Pharmacy,” Mason’s words dance with the, respective, bass and guitar riffs while “Stop Walking Start Swimming” is a fast-paced and moveable track that rests on hope for a future of equality. The lyrical intricacies within The Decline help make the album as powerful as it is. In the last line of the last verse in “Stop Walking Start Swimming,” Mason sings, “I don’t want a private life” (more powerfully written in brackets as seen on Bandcamp). It’s a fleeting line but listen closely, it makes the song.

The Decline‘s longest track “Evidence” is another strong one. An epic song that seeks forgiveness and survival, the first half is upbeat and almost hopeful. Towards its end, Mason and band shift back to a melancholic sound as they battle the darkness that comes with trying to remember your actions.

In the final moments of The Decline, Mason, as found in “I’ve Been Tasting Roads My Whole Life Repeats, sings, “I want to spit this road out and build a whole new house.” With their powerful record, Mason sets a solid foundation to do just that.

Top Tracks: “Stop Walking Start Swimming”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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