The first full-length by Year Future, led by Gold Standard Labs head honcho Sonny Kay, primarily consists of standard-issue GSL post-hardcore in the vein of Kay's previous bands Angel Hair and the VSS. The guitars are loud, the drums are furious, the vocals are incomprehensibly shouty, and the song structures are fragmented in the now-familiar post-hardcore fashion, such as the stop-on-a-dime breaks in the opening "The Hidden Hand." As a result, First World Fever will be comfort food for the screamo kids, but occasionally Kay diverts the band into totally unexpected directions, and those songs are the most rewarding on the album. The tightly wound "I'm with Stupid" features an atypically prominent bassline that serves the same function that Jah Wobble's parts did on the early Public Image Ltd. records, as a fluid, dance-oriented bridge between the nearly atonal harshness of Kay's vocals and the full-on metal attack of the guitars; it's by some distance the most compelling song on First World Fever, one that suggests a possible new direction for the band. Equally astonishing in an even more unexpected way is the album's sole cover, a version of "Black Sun" by the ambient goth duo Dead Can Dance that, aside from Kay's typical shredded-larynx vocals, is shockingly faithful to the mood and feel of the original.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason