World/Inferno Friendship Society could easily be mistaken with an orgasm. The music spends itself in a remarkably short time span for all of the instrumentation and vocals crammed into each song. The longest song on new album Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre’s Twentieth Century is only 4:45, that being an overture offering quick spurts of summaries of many songs on the album. The overture proper ends at around the 3:10 mark, and the 1:35 left on the track is apparently enough to fit in a quick original song. Everything is swift moving in the world/inferno of World/Inferno, darting in and out of many different repeated sections of music that might be called chorus or refrain, or the attempt to refer to each little bit of song that whips past my ears might just be forgotten as that little bit of song has passed, in the past. Then the little bit of song comes back, and before I can call it something, it runs away from my call at the speed of sound. As I watch it shoot off into the sunset, it runs around the world to run me over, then continues its roadrunner run around the World/Inferno.
The music’s speed makes World/Inferno something hard to hold onto. It’s not music that stays put, so it is hard to reside in it and breathe in its atmosphere. World/Inferno’s atmosphere is like a hailstorm, simply striking, percussive tumult and mayhem affecting any who might be in the world/inferno/storm’s reach. Anybody who finds that they can truly live and breathe in the hailstorm might be seen as at least a little crazy, not that that’s a bad thing.
Another elusive aspect of World/Inferno is the way the music continuously makes itself strange. In all of the little bits of song that repeat, the fluctuating voice of Jack Terricloth makes each repetition just a little different from the last, morphing any line made to connect the dots a tad crooked. This is not to mention the warped nature World/Inferno, taking orchestral instruments out of their symphonic habitat and adapting them to a world of discord, the mutations always startling, no matter how common they become (see the opening riff of “‘M’ is for Morphine”).
Per the thematic content of Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre’s Twentieth Century, it does correspond to much of Peter Lorre’s life events, with references to his role in M and Casablanca, his addiction to morphine, and his daughter Catherine. How accurate the statements from Lorre’s POV are in the album are certainly up for question, but the adaptation of Peter Lorre’s life could be seen less as a biographical letter of love to the long lost actor, but instead an adoption of an aesthetic that Lorre was and, thanks to cartoons, is still famous for: the creep, the foreigner, the stranger. It is an aesthetic that somewhat matches that of World/Inferno’s, but the incongruities between the two can be construed to augment the already incongruous nature of both Lorre and World/Inferno.