Fuck and lose with Division S

DIVISION S: Something To Fuck And Lose

Release year: 2023
Label: Steinklang Industries

“Weird and alcoholic music since 2004”, proclaims a text on the covers of this album. And that’s pretty much a perfect description of the weirdness that is Division S, boiled down to a mere six words. So, with that said, I suppose we can wrap up this review here and head out for a pint.

Whaddayamean, “no?” You want something more, something that actually describes the music and what it sounds like and what it reminds one of? Oh, all right then.

In a nutshell, Italian Division S make weird and alcoholic music. You often see terms like neofolk or neo-cabaret thrown around, but at least in this context, those are entirely meaningless terms, so forget all about them. Instead, think of latter day crooners such as Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave. Think semi-psychedelic 60’s pop. Think the preppy, naivistic melodies of old girl pop groups.

Then, think of sleazy old time lounge bars in hotels desperately trying to look a lot less cheap than they are. The kind you see in movies set in the 60’s and 70’s. Think of a dingy, underpaid house band playing three sets a night, six days a week. Think of their dispassionate musicianship, of the minimal effort they put into their arrangements. Think of them playing there, in all the cigarrette smoke, for a horny crowd who’re out to get drunk, get laid and do anything except listen to the crummy house band. Think of aforementioned Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave out on a bender. Think of them ending up in a dirty dive bar at the end of the night, singing out-of-tune, out-of-time, out-of-whack drunk karaoke.

I know what you’re thinking now. “So you’re saying Division S is shit?” And that’s exactly where you’re wrong. Think of an album that encapsulates all of the above, wraps it in a shimmering, foggy layer of being quite intoxicated, and make something wonderful out of it. That’s what Something To Fuck And Lose is.

Like on the previous Division S album we reviewed, 2022’s Something To Drink & Smoke (here), the album is saturated with a weird, wobbly and crackling sheen like listening to old vinyl records or deteriorating tapes, with decidedly strange mixing making the vocals sound as if coming from a distance, and an overall disjointed feel. Like being under the influence, as it were.

However, this time around, the compositions are less jerky, repetitive and jarring. The overall feel of the album is a bit more straight, a bit less messed up. And it works: to me, it is obvious that Something To Fuck And Lose is a step forward in comparison to its predecessor. Division S retain their weirdness, but are a bit more approachable and a bit less confusing.

For some reason, I was under the impression that the previous album was going to be Division S’s last. Well, luckily not so, as Something To Fuck And Lose is certainly an album that makes the world a slightly richer, slightly better, slightly weirder place to be.

Visit Division S on Bandcamp or Facebook

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