Thursday, July 17, 2008

Flobots "Fight With Tools" (Album Review)

I heard that song for the first time when I was driving my brother's car out to Shawnee Mission for EarthFest. I was blown away that something so amazing was on the radio. Then, thanks to the powers of their MySpace I listened to it over and over again... but not to any of the other songs the Flobots had posted.

I was worried I'd break the perfect song's spell by listening to crappier songs from the same band and just end up disliking "Handlebars" instead of liking the other songs. I didn't get the album for the same reason, but then my boy got it and solved my dilemma because I liked the whole damn thing. Flobots' album, Fight With Tools, as a whole reminds me of Cake, Green Day, A Perfect Circle and System of a Down all mashed together so that it resembles all and none of them. It's fricken sweet.

The album starts off with "There's a War Going on For Your Mind" a spoken-word/rap song overlayed with violins and drums that introduces the album's theme which is something like being powerful and conscious in an unconscious world. It also leads right into "Mayday!!" which is starts out as the first song, but eventually guitar, bass and trumpets are introduced. From what I can infer, it's about the destruction at New Orleans.

"Same Thing" is about the aspects of America that suck: corrupt politicians, aggressive warfare, the indoctrination of the masses, corporate greed, etc. "Stand Up" is the natural follower; it is a challenge/call to stand up for what's important, such as needy/starving people, healing from 9/11 and New Orleans and all that kind of change-the-world touchy-feely/angry shit I like so much.

The title track, "Fight With Tools" is another diatribe against what sucks in the USA mixed in with a challenge to guys to "be a man" and not "put your fists up." This song kind of makes me roll my eyes a little, but not because I don't agree with it. The way they say "be a man" just sounds so silly to me, but since "Handlebars" is the next song, I pretty much just wait for it to start while listening to the title track.

After "Handlebars" the album has an obvious split in style from the songs I just talked about. The remaining six songs are much more "whooshy" as my ex-the-guitar-player would say. Many of them feature a female vocalist, explosive musical interludes and much rockier music in general. This half of the album, I don't like as much - but that's mostly because I am still so surprised that they chose to arrange it in a way that splits it in two. The songs are quite stellar and when I'm randomizing albums in my player, I love when these songs play because I LOVE them... just not when I hear them in album order.

So, anyway, if you've hesitated about listening to more of Flobots, you shouldn't be a pussy like me about it.

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Recoil said...

Nice review, I definitely agree with the splitting-in-two comment. Seemed strange to me.

I like FWT a bit more than you, I think. Probably my second favorite song on the album. What did you think of Anne Braden?

May said...

I don't know... I feel like Anne Braden was a great idea with poor execution. The song sounds so disjointed and I find the "chorus" part really boring. On the other hand, it's a fascinating story! So I can't stop listening to it, but I wince a lot.