If anything, the band mostly plays to either side of the alternative rock scene that is conjured up by any mention of that decade. The resulting sound is something that doesn't always have the hook and groove that gave grunge a lift and alternative rock new life. But what it does have is noteworthy.
Foreign Tongues tends to play a gear above or a gear below alternative rock: punked up and punchy or somber and subdued. It's knowing this, in fact, that makes the two tracks contributed to their newest split somewhat surprising. Both tracks offer up a slower, sadder vibe.
Two tracks off are sway classics from Foreign Tongues.
The second track from Foreign Tongues, which also closes out the Split 12" with The Felix Culpa, is a beautifully morose song that shows off moodier stylings. The band recently released a video to promote the song and the split, with a little help from director Robert Evans.
Luxury is a sorrowfully felt beast of a song despite being played out in under three minutes. It's about luxurious wedding ceremonies and the momentarily high expectations they create. Impossible to live up to, they eventually come crashing down and leave everyone embattled and bruised.
For Big Drag, Foreign Tongues trades out the acoustic and clean electric for something more distorted. The concept, however, is very similar to Luxury. The song is filled with reflection and regret until the mid-point, where it becomes considerably more hopeful and upbeat.
Big Drag feels like a song about letting go, but the brilliance of it is in what happens after coming to terms with loss. The loss doesn't disappear, but the acceptance of it disrupts the numbness and creates an unexpected uplift. It's a great split song because it will leave most longing for a full length.
It's possible to satisfy some of it by retracing the band's progression, specifically looking for the band's self-titled EP debut. Envy will satisfy any curiosity about the band's potential heaviness and Jealous Children closes the gap between that and the band's direction on the split. Maps Of The Sky, on the other hand, provides a sneak at what the band looks forward to during live performances.
They also put out another five-track EP titled Glue last year, but it doesn't have nearly the same impact. It's a shame too, especially because proceeds from its sale went to One Fund, a charity to help the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Sure, the EP lends well to the vastness that the band tries to maintain but there are better directions.
Aside from founders Moretti and Scuderi, Foreign Tongues include Andre Tamulonis (bass), Joseph Barthlette (drums), and Al Dravis (guitar). At one point they had six members.
A couple graphs about the second band on the split.
While this review centers on Foreign Tongues, it's impossible not to give a nod to the top half of the split. The Felix Culpa, a post hardcore progressive rock band out of Beloit, Wisconsin, and Rockford Illinois (some say Chicago). The band, which has been on hiatus for about three years, is using the split to prove their relevance as a three piece with only Marky Hladish (vocals, guitar), Tristan Hammond (vocals, bass) and Joel Coan (drums).
Their contributions are a stark contrast to Foreign Tongues, making the split even more exceptional. Of the two contributions, Karma City is the stronger, hard-hitting standalone. Bloodletting Lines is equally big, but not as fluid as the opener.
Two Tracks From Foreign Tongues Licks 7.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
With The Felix Culpa, the split pulls slightly less for the second track despite being liked by fans. The real winners here are anyone surprised to see The Felix Culpa back and Foreign Tongues because all they need is a better following to move along to the next level.
You can find the 12" split from Foreign Tongues and The Felix Culpa on iTunes. The Split is also on Amazon. No Sleep Records is selling a limited edition, Cloudy Clear, vinyl direct. For shows, visit Facebook for a schedule.