If you've never heard of I Set My Friends on Fire, it's the same two Miami homeboys — Matt Mihana and Nabil Moo — who used to play around town as We Are the Cavalry. The music on their latest project still has plenty of teen appeal and encompasses everything from hardcore, grunge, and thrash to hip-hop, humor, and occasional melodic clarity. It's a style that serves them well. In a nutshell, the pair first gained fame on MySpace with a bombastic version of Soulja Boy's "Crank Dat" and went on to accumulate more than a million plays and counting. It wasn't long before they attracted notice from Epitaph Records, a label known for its alternative chic.
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The resulting debut, You Can't Spell Slaughter Without Laughter, takes full advantage of the irony insinuated by its banner, with songs bearing titles such as "Reese's Pieces, I Don't Know Who John Cleese Is," "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men," and "Beauty Is in the Eyes of the Beerholder." Mihana and Moo clearly have tongues planted firmly in cheeks, but those tongues take second place to the music itself: a convulsive upheaval that finds songs spastically switching gears and then merging one into another. With insistent rhythms driving the proceedings at a furious pace, it's all one hell of a major mindfuck.