fun. is what happens when three extraordinarily talented musicians come together to create something altogether new and wonderful. Nate Ruess, late of The Format, has teamed up with ex-Anathallo multi-instrumentalist Andrew Dost and Steel Train's Jack Antonoff, resulting in their ingenious debut, "AIM AND IGNITE." The trio melds a stunning array of diverse inspirations - spanning Broadway to The Beach Boys, "NILSSON SCHMILSSON" to "PINKERTON" - into an irresistible collection of freewheeling pop songcraft. Songs like "Benson Hedges" and "All The Pretty Girls" are fit to burst with richly prolix lyricism and intricate melodic twists and turns, which provide plenty of room for Ruess' distinctive vocals to soar. With "AIM AND IGNITE," fun. have crafted something special indeed, a contemporary rethinking of classic 70s pop, where ornate arrangements and inspired orchestrations meet present-day rock 'n' roll.
Dug deep into the rich soil of American music, Cope’s roots are complex You may think of Bill Withers or Neil Young or John Lee Hooker or Van Morrison or Willie Nelson or Al Green. Yet, listening to Cope, you also may think of none of the above. You may not think at all, but rather feel a man exposing stories that haunt his heart.
On record the vision is first expressed in Citizen Cope, the debut album from 2002. The artist is still finding his footing and, although his trademark poetry is firmly in place, this is the only record where the production isn’t entirely his own. The aural environment is more elaborate, the sound not yet reduced down to the common denominator that we come to know as Cope. The theme, though, is clear—it’s “Contact,” the cry for a connection to a world that is at once bewildering, necessary, and fraudulent. The issues are serious. “You’ve got them crooked politicians,” he writes, “eating up the treasury and taking our cash to spend on the prisons while the youth they fast.” The groove is insistent. “Let the Drummer Kick” is the name of the song that says, “You’ve got to bust through…mass confusion, solution, conclusion, inspiration is what pulls you through.” Busting through, pulling through, getting through to “Salvation,” a story in which Judas shows up in DC and takes aim at the singer’s soul.
In understanding GIVERS, it’s helpful to think of a constellation, a configuration of points of brightness that when placed in succession, led to the Lafayette, Louisiana-based quintet’s brilliant debut. The metaphor proves particularly useful given the name of their album – In Light (Glassnote Entertainment Group) is a collection filled with joy and brightness, buoyed by constantly evolving rhythms, warmed by spangling guitars, and illuminated by the melodic altruism that is the band’s mission statement.
Above all is the unrelenting positivity in every note of the record, central to the band’s polarity. It’s the joy that only the truly gracious can have, and in discussing their trajectory, they marvel at the pattern and fortune in their wake. “Every dot is just as important as another. All these dots are so crucial,” says Guarisco. “One without the other – it wouldn’t be the constellation that is GIVERS.”