Band of the Day

2012.06.06

Alcoholic Faith Mission

Woozy, wobbly, heart-swelling chamber pop from Denmark
No one knows exactly how to act when we smack them down. Sure as hell isn't pretty when they bleed, but it's for their own good.
lyrics from When They Bleed

Alcoholic Faith Mission was founded in 2006 by two high school friends Thorben Jensen and Sune Solund. The pair walked by the Apostolic Faith Mission in Brooklyn and decided a name-play on that would be their band name. Their debut album Misery Loves Company was released in 2006 on Cope Records. In 2009 AFM released 421 Wythe Avenue – the address where they stayed while recording the album. The group then added members Kristine Permild, Gustav Rasmussen, Morten Hyldahl and Anders Hjort. In 2010 their third and most successful album to date, Let This Be The Last Night We Care, was released and supported by a European and North American tour. AFM finished their fourth album Ask Me This in late 2011 and released it worldwide in 2012, supported by an extensive European and North American tour.

As one might guess, Denmark’s Alcoholic Faith Mission have a close relationship with booze. Indeed, the band came up with its name after a drunken night stumbling around Brooklyn and coming across the Apostolic Faith Mission. Their songs are littered with references to getting wasted, and when the group first started recording in founder Thorben Seierø Jensen’s bedroom, imbibing was not just an influence on the process, it was mandatory. No surprise, then, that the sextet’s music sounds like a blissful hangover—that moment in the early morning when sunlight floods through the bedroom window and your head is pounding and yet, even though the details are hazy, you still know there was something magical about the night before. Like those first seconds of consciousness, before your eyes fully adjust to sobriety, the songs on Let This Be the Last Night That We Care, the group’s third album, don’t always take on a clear shape. Opening with plaintive piano, “Put the Virus In You” eventually drops into a whirlpool of drums, horns and a warped chorus of voices singing about bruises, cancer and breaking apart. It keeps a woozy, unbalanced formlessness from there, held together by the group's vocals and striking—if obtuse—lyrical imagery. “I'm turning on to the idea of having you on your back, laughing at my face, while my shrimp is getting bigger, and I'm waiting just to poke you,” goes the verse on the languidly catchy, oddly titled “Got Love? Got Shellfish!” Something must be getting mangled in the Danish-to-English translation there, but that just makes AFM an even more fascinating listen. Their stripped-down 2011 EP, Running with Insanity, is a slightly more structured, poppier affair, with the handclap- and horn-driven “When They Bleed” marking perhaps the group’s most accessible tune yet—though it still sports a chorus of “We don’t need no bitches in this place.” Someone must’ve been drunk when they wrote that.