10 years after the band’s formation, the German electro/rock duo known as FTANNG! has unveiled its debut album, the ironically titled … And No One Seemed to Care …. Initially founded by Dorian Deveraux as a solo outlet after his departure from Jesus on Extasy, it would be dismissive to say that his new partnership with Peter Vignold is merely the next logical step from where that previous band left off; indeed, from this album, FTANNG! draws on a rich tapestry of industrial and alternative rock influences, with much of the record’s power coming from its robust blend of refined production and intelligent songwriting.
There is a distinctly ‘90s vibe that resounds throughout, with a prime example being “Happiness” with its pulsating synth bass and offbeat rhythm topped off by high-and-low harmonized vocals, the almost subliminal slowing of the tempo in the middle section before abruptly returning to its original speed providing the right amount of dissonant atmosphere. The same can be said for songs like “Some Distant Day,” “Waves,” and “The Sun Will Shine Again,” all of which present their own mixes of grungy guitars, vibrant synths, and forceful bass grooves, with the vocals often alternating between quiet restraint and unhinged wails to take each track to their own emotive peaks. Musically, FTANNG! throws in some stylistic curveballs as well – from the jazzy breaks of saxophone and piano in the opening “Betray,” to the disco breakdown that concludes “The Sun Will Shine Again,” to the anthemic balladry of “Meaning,” the latter being especially powerful as the repetitions of “I want to give my life a meaning” are sung with such earnestness atop melodic synths and pianos set to a languid tempo… it’s almost reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails’ “Something I Can Never Have,” except on the other end of the emotional scale. Similarly, the title track almost takes on a ‘70s progressive rock tone as the complex rhythms are offset by chiming guitars and pianos straddling a bristling bass drone; things take a weird and wonderful turn as soaring keyboard solos atop ascending pianos bring to mind the epic fury of Nine Inch Nails’ “Just Like You Imagined.”
Given the collective talents and history of Deveraux and Vignold, it should come as no surprise that … And No One Seemed to Care … is as strong a debut as it is; attention is paid to every detail, making for an album that seems to yield greater satisfaction with each subsequent listen.