Originally published in Beat.
If you find someone who’s heard of Failure, chances are they’re young. Not juvenile young, but young enough to have only discovered the Californians in the intervening years between their disbandment in 1997 and their reunion in 2013. Failure enjoyed modest success in their initial run, releasing three underappreciated albums in a four-year span, but they barely made a blip on the commercial radar at the time.
Perhaps that was owing to the oddity of their sound – not quite space rock and not quite grunge, Failure utilised muddied guitars, swampy bass riffs, surreal lyricism and flourishes of sprawling, Pink Floyd-esque ambition, all infused with an off-kilter pop sensibility. After moderately successful Lollapalooza appearances, drug problems brought the band to a halt, and that was it. But as with so many of their contemporaries, the Internet – along with bands like A Perfect Circle and Paramore covering their songs – allowed a new generation to discover Failure’s music.