Five Iron Frenzy “The End is Here”

8 August 2019

Five Iron Frenzy released their seventh and final album, “The End is Here,” to a devoted fan base. It stays in the vein of their past musical projects, offering a refreshing blend of ska and rock. The 14-track album kicks off with “Cannonball,” an energetic song infused with blaring horns, smashing guitars, terrific drums and powerful vocals.

A recurring theme is bold and upfront lyrics. One song where these are especially present is “So Far, So Bad,” which takes a brutal stab at the music industry – a topic not commonly tackled. Another, “Anchors Away,” throws some punches at the media in general. It is this kind of lyrical boldness that gives relevance to what would otherwise be organized noise.

“Wizard Needs Food, Badly” and “At Least I’m Not Like All Those Other Old Guys” display Five Iron Frenzy’s talent in writing humorous songs that still carry a strong musical presence.

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“See The Flames Begin To Crawl” speaks of quitting, a topic that is very real to the members of Five Iron Frenzy, since this is their final album.

“That’s How The Story Ends” combines themes that have prevailed through previous Five Iron Frenzy songs into a lighthearted piece, where subtle references to past songs abound.

The most exceptional song is also the last. “On Distant Shores” sums up everything Five Iron Frenzy has stood for in their almost 10 years together. Starting quietly, the inherent meekness of the song crescendos into a powerfully emotional finale borrowed from one of Five Iron Frenzy’s most recognized songs, “Every New Day.” Surprisingly, this verse seems to fit better here than the original.

The lyrics are fabulous, but the music is a masterpiece in itself. Five Iron Frenzy does a stellar job combining guitars, horns, drums and vocals into a quality package. The horns specifically add something refreshing, since they cannot be found in most popular music.

Five Iron Frenzy consists of Reese Roper (vocals), Micah Ortega (guitar), Keith Hoerig (bass), Andrew Verdecchio (drums), Dennis Culp (trombone, backing vocals), Leanor “Jeff” Ortega (saxophone), and Brad Dunham (trumpet). When on tour, these guys create an electrically energetic live show. In addition to the U.S., they have performed internationally and participated in the “Ska Against Racism” tour.

As a bonus, “The End is Here” comes with a live recording of their last concert in their hometown of Denver, Colorado. This bonus CD has many favorites, as well as a selection of songs from their new album.

One of the most strikingly executed songs on this bonus CD is “Medley.” This song, through pure musical genius, combines a variety of old and new hits into one composition. It is the closest you can get to experiencing one of their concerts in person.

Even the artwork on the case and lyric book is superb. Using vivid colors, artist Douglas Ten Napel does an amazing job putting into pictures the story of their career. The artwork alone almost makes the album worth buying.

Rarely does a band come along that can combine meaningful lyrics, exceptional vocal talent, and a strong yet diverse musical style. Five Iron Frenzy, though, pulls all this off without a hitch.

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