This is a two time Grammy nominated American band, and that's just on their first time out of the gate. And the lead singer is hot. Anywhos, this all happened pretty quickly. They formed in LA in 2009, where Mark Foster (hot guy) was working as a jingle writer. By 2010, "Pumped Up Kicks" was already a viral success, and they were signed and playing some sizable club gigs as well as major festivals (think Coachella and SxSW and well, yeah, those), while recording their debut album. This was all after the Hunter S. Thompson-esq lifestyle Foster managed to live in LA, complete with drug addiction and a lost first chance at stardom.
Oh and hey, by the way, this was all just a few years out of high school. Yup, this is one of those stories. Doesn't make me hate or love them any more or less, it's just one of the paths apparently taken.
Okay, so band origin. Album recording. Award overview. And here's the Spotify link. Annnddd yeah - let's go!
Immediately, we're welcomed with a decent sound in "Helena Beat" to get moving to. If this band doesn't bring on a party, I'd be very disappointed. The voice takes a little getting used to, given the pitch, but it's manageable and even borderline likable by the time the chorus hits. The music, by far, does it for this number in a better way than it appeals lyrically. That sentiment comes from not being able to blast it a little louder though. I'll throw headphones in in a sec if it's the same throughout.
And now we're in to the over-played single. I have to admit though, after having not heard it for a few weeks now, I do enjoy it once again. Of course I'm talking about "Pumped Up Kicks." I've always held issue with the vocal effects used in recording this one, but still like it because of the variations between verses and choruses. No kidding though that the concept is twisted and tough, but it does makes for a fascinating song instead of the typical subjects we choose to enjoy. Oh, and if you ever get to hear an acoustic version of it, you'll have a whole new appreciation - hence why I think I still enjoy this.
"Call It What You Want" was unexpected. It's got a funky little disco beat and a treatment on the vocals that actually really works. Suddenly, I'm extremely excited for these guys at Bonnaroo. This is a great, fun sound, and will make for a fantastic audience experience.
I've heard "Don't Stop (Color On The Walls)" somewhere before, maybe even on te radio. I've always liked how infectious it manages to be, without crossing over into the realm of being annoying. There's such a catchy nature to the chorus, and you can't help but continue to enjoy it throughout, regardless of the repetitious nature. This is all quite surprising.
"Waste" provides this backing that's a little too fast to relax to, and vocals that are a little to airy to dance to. It's an odd off-balance for a track and doesn't work all the way through for some reason. I'm thinking it has something to do with the pitches hit, but can't pinpoint the frustration with the song. It's just got this off quality where I want to like it so badly, but it's just not up to that threshold of enjoyability.
Really cool use of instrumentation on "I Would Do Anything For You." The band has a talent of interesting rhythms on different instruments (here, it's sort of a bass/piano sound), while keeping up a beat you can't help but lose yourself in wanting to move around. This would make for fantastic silent disco music actually. Have I mentioned I'm slightly jones-ing for Bonnaroo right now? Yeah, maybe just a little. It is really nice to start finding these bands that you're suddenly excited to see beyond knowing a name, though. I wish I could say this video from the Letterman performances does the same, but it's a little tiring. :/
Not as into "Life On The Nickel," and it's completely the total electronic feel to the entire thing. There's nothing that strikes me as musical in the same way the other tracks were. I don't hate it, as I'm probably seemingly saying, but it doesn't sit right the way some similar tracks might. It's got an over-produced feel in some areas, and an under-cared-about feel in others. Oddly enough, this one does make for a much better live track! Aside from when he hits the keys. He's the exact opposite of Taylor Hanson, who needs that keyboard like nothing else.
- "Helena Beat"
- "Pumped Up Kicks"
- "Call It What You Want"
- "Don't Stop (Color On The Walls"
- "I Would Do Anything For You"
I get the big deal now - honestly. This was a really great album with sounds that were completely enjoyable throughout the party they brought on. We didn't delve too much into the lyrics here, but the ones I caught in a heavier way were well thought-out and downright intriguing. If these guys play their cards right, there's a future here for sure.