- Flypaper Scissors, Life After Tomorrow
"Evolution has come to weed us out!" screams Flypaper Scissors singer/multi-instrumentalist E.D. Friedman on "Modern People." The first track on Life After Tomorrow, Friedman's latest LP under the Flypaper Scissors moniker, the song is something of a fake-out, a nod toward pop and R&B on a record that sits a lot closer to early aughts nu metal and hardcore music.
Life After Tomorrow is the third release of Flypaper Scissors, a solo project for Friedman. The Champlain College associate professor has been putting out alt-rock records since the early 2000s, when he was known as Oblique and located in South Florida. After a lengthy hiatus, Friedman reemerged as Flypaper Scissors, first with the 2017 EP The Inevitable, then 2019's space-rock-leaning So Far Gone.
On his latest album, Friedman ties it all together with something of a theme. The songs are "reflecting on human behavior in a changed world," he wrote by email. The album sports suitably dystopian cover art of a dilapidated basketball goal and a snow-spotted, soggy field. Visible through fog are skeletal trees and the pale husk of a building.
The cover, designed by Friedman, matches the sounds he creates. For most of the eight tracks on Life After Tomorrow, Friedman dwells in the realm of Deftones-like metal, by way of the Cure. "Fat Mooney" is a pounding song full of knife-edged guitar tones and a driving bass. Friedman's singing is often gentle by comparison.
The verses in "A Calmed Relax" show pop-punk influences, and playful harmonies and a simple guitar riff form the bedrock. Credit Friedman for possessing the chops to sound not only like a full band but also one whose individual pieces have personalities. The guitars are gnarly, distorted to a blunt edge and chugging like machinery. The bass has a pop that adds some needed buoyancy to Friedman's explosive drum work.
However, in a record so devoted to the heavy sounds of the late '90s and early aughts, one element is missing: the neon-lit edge of the best Deftones records. Amid all the darkness and loud-quiet dynamics, Life After Tomorrow could use a few slashes of color.
Friedman does a capable and often intriguing job with his vocal melodies, but they don't possess the firepower of Chino Moreno. The place to add some of those splashes would be in the instrumental mix, but overall he opts for a stark, punishingly hard tone.
Perhaps that's fitting in a record that seems to dwell in the ruins. "I suffocate alone without you here," Friedman sings over a piano dirge on "A Crown." Like much of the album, the tune evokes a sense of loneliness and space, of being an agoraphobe left to one's own devices in an abandoned world.
Check out Life After Tomorrow at flypaperscissors.bandcamp.com.