A week ago today, New York City band fun. (yes, that's how they spell it, don't blame us) played Chain Reaction in Anaheim along with OC veterans Hellogoodbye and Limbeck. Now, their debut album Aim and Ignite is in stores, and being that fun. lead singer Nate Ruess and myself are both former Phoenix residents, I reviewed the record in last week's edition of sister paper the Phoenix New Times. Since the album can now be bought, and all that, here's the review for what is sure to be a scintillating reading experience. (Oh, and they're playing an in-store at 7 p.m. this Sunday, August 30, at Fingerprints in Long Beach.)
The first lyric of "Be Calm," the opening track of Aim and Ignite, finds Nate Ruess narrating "as I walk through the streets of my new city." The former Format singer has always let his life affect his lyrics in very literal ways, and his move to New York City and work with new band fun. quickly prove no exception -- which means there's at least some level of umbrage Arizonans should take with the fact that the first single is called "At Least I'm Not As Sad (As I Used to Be)."
But leaving Phoenix really does seem to have cheered the guy up, as he's joined ranks with Anthallo's
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to create a record full of ornately crafted pop tunes. It's a natural progression from the Format's second (and at this point, final) record,Dog Problems
-- there's no stripped-down "On Your Porch" here, with each song tilting toward the melodically chaotic and the bombastically layered. Female backing vocals ("Be Calm"), rousing harmonies ("Benson Hedges"), horns ("Barlights") and steel pans ("At Least I'm Not as Sad") help diversify a familiar sound, and fans who appreciated the more complex and less radio-friendly elements of the Format should be grateful Ruess moved away.