I Set My Friends on Fire

Hmmm. If you've never heard of I Set My Friends on Fire before, it's two Miami homeboys — Matt Mihana and Nabil Moo — who used to play around South Florida as We Are the Cavalry. The music on their first project as ISMFOF, 2008's You Can't Spell Slaughter Without Laughter, still has plenty of teen appeal and encompasses everything from hardcore, grunge and thrash to hip-hop, humor and occasional melodic clarity. It's a style that serves them well. Having gained MySpace fame with a bombastic version of Soulja Boy's "Crank Dat," the pair went on to accumulate more than a million plays and counting on Limewire. It wasn't long after that that they attracted notice from Epitaph Records, a label known for its alternative chic, and the resulting debut takes full advantage of the irony insinuated by its title on songs such as "Reese's Pieces, I Don't Know Who John Cleese Is?," "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" and "Beauty Is in the Eyes of the Beerholder." Mihana and Moo clearly have their tongues planted firmly in cheek, but those tongues take second place to the music itself: a convulsive upheaval that finds songs spastically switching gears and then merging one into another. With insistent rhythms driving the proceedings at a furious pace, it's all one hell of a major mindfuck.
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Lee Zimmerman