There are a lot of reasons to give it a spin, but one in particular stands out: it’s not an album that goes where you think it will go. At all. Insecure Men’s self-titled, full-length debut is a mellow and enigmatic pop feat from a solo Saul Adamczewski of Fat White Family, joined by pal Ben Romans-Hopcraft of Childhood – and while they’ve both made their mark on the new project’s sound, it’s a striking pivot from the expected.
Just released on Friday, the 11-track album is a meandering, often mind-bending experiment in tempo and melody, enriched with soft acoustic percussion, cleverly eerie lyrics, and an unhurried pace that adds to the fun. Compared to the drug-induced thrasher rock Fat White Family fans know well, Adamczewski presents a much more placid and fickle pop sound in Insecure Men; that slinky, seedy nightclub quality still present in some progressions (as in “Teenage Toy,” “All Women Love Me,” and “I Don’t Wanna Dance (with my Baby)”) but with more of a sun-drenched, 60s party vibe throughout. In a very real-life way, it’s the sound of someone who has pulled themselves out of a tremendously grim place and commemorated the trip with a bright bundle of jams, most of which seem to flip a firm middle finger to any critics along the way.
Of course, Adamczewski would never let a full album slip through without injecting his dark wit and some jarring topics for the public to ponder. Don’t be fooled when you find yourself blissfully grooving with Insecure Men; there’s some grisly stuff hidden right in plain sight – a bevy of references to sexual abuse and corruption, the crack-addicted strife of “The Saddest Man in Penge,” and even an exploration into the disturbingly similar deaths of Whitney Houston and her daughter Bobbi (on “Whitney Houston and I”). It’s that double-sided tendency – those sudden moments of “Wait, what the hell am I dancing to?” – that makes Insecure Men’s first album such a promising one; not just for the newfound supergroup, but for the genre itself. Catchy pop is a vessel that travels to many ears, and we need more musicians stuffing it with thought-provoking surprises.
Article: Olivia Isenhart
Cover Image: Sacha Lecca