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Florida Man - "Tropical Depression" | Album Review


by Jordan J. Michael (@jordwhyjames)

Many of us have heard or used the phrase “everything happens for a reason” when bleak situations get thrown into our lives; we can use the motto as means to keep going. Marilyn Monroe said it well: 

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

Florida Man is a band for a reason, and anyone who uses aggressive, lively hardcore rock to cope with bad things needs Tropical Depression. The new album from the Charleston, South Carolina four-piece might not solve your problems, but it will provide a pure rush, thwarting your mind into systematic mode. Florida Man is re-evaluating punk rock in 2019, and maybe it is time to re-evaluate life, too.

Because why not? Certain shitty entities dump shitty shrapnel onto perfectly genuine beings who try to live life to the fullest. Tropical Depression is for the later, not the former. The only way leverage-craving idiots will touch Tropical Depression is if the orange slice picture disc LP (sold out, by the way) comes hurling toward their jugular as a frisbee from the oppressed. Florida Man is Re. Lent. Less. The band is a groovy killer; press play. 

Vocalist Jim O’Connor, guitarist Adam Barnes, drummer Jonathan Peace, and bassist CJ DeLuca have been through the muck of the current millennial. As the escapism of band practice awaits, long hours are worked. There’s false security, faulty technology, shady institutions, sinful drugs, and personal faults that besiege us. However, being a talented musician in a seductively sinister group of other talented rockers can afford the luxury of trying to outrun an unhealthy society with swelling waves of fuzz and distortion. Florida Man has a catchy underbelly and inspiring sonics. Behind O’Connor’s shale vocals—think Gallows’ Wade MacNeil meets The Amazing Snakeheads’ Dale Barclay (R.I.P.)—and Zac Thomas’s defining production, the Spartans speed down the suspicious highway. Tropical Depression (close-up picture of an orange on the cover, how Florida!) has some cease, but mostly hits the throat, endlessly swinging.

With a dash of emo (“Conviction” and “Weeded”) and grimy grooves, Florida Man has a perfect pulse. The Jesus Lizard might be shaking hands with Fugazi; Hot Snakes and Drive Like Jehu might be sharing a table with My War. Botch, No Knife, These Arms Are Snakes, Faraquet and Shellac are looming. Nonetheless, Tropical Depression is none of those bands, just a bambino of great musical taste. Barnes’ guitar is really on point here; he can play many shades. We hear his fingers working hard, and it is neat. Barnes and Florida Man have high velocity (“Brain Cell” out the gate as O’Connor screams “PARANOIA”); amazing dirge melody (“Dirt”); nifty funk (“Holy Roller”); fun, grainy solos (“Rat On The Loose”); and introspection (“Weeded”). Tropical Depression is scary and inviting at the same time. Listening to it will be a cost, but it will find you.

A Google search of “tropical depression” brings up “Tropical cyclone,” a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure core; a closed low-level atmospheric circulation with strong winds, and a spiral package of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. Because when it rains, it should fucking pour, and Florida Man knows, bringing hail, too. Not only is Tropical Depression one of the most convincing albums of 2019, it is properly named.