Dads - American Radass (this is important)
Record Label: Flannel Gurl Records
Release Date: August 07, 2012
I'd like to say records like this are rare, but I have no idea if that's true. In my extremely narrow and self-referential world, it is. But I can't speak for you, nor would I want such a burden. Somehow I think this extreme level of uncertainty is exactly the type of sentiment a record like American Radass (this is important) hopes to capture. Dads have created a loud, complicated, heart-on-tattoo-sleeve record full of so much THEM that WE can't help but relate. If that doesn't make sense, sorry. Get out.
Look, it's as simple as the opening lyric from "Honestly, Chroma Q&A": "I dwell on things that break my own heart." If you're over that, and over two weird dudes mixing equal parts finger-picked precision with over-aggressive straight-up guitar swells, then there's not much for you here. That's not on you. Be you! But I'm just saying, Dads aren't creating music for everyone. They, possibly more than any band I've heard in the year of our lord 2012, are creating music for them and their inner circle. Even if that inner circle is just them. But fuck that, actually. This stuff is serious and important (my b) and lines like the ones in "Aww, C'mon Guyz" ("'We're just having fun,' yeah I've heard that one before / It's shock value humor / When all you get is silence / You try for some more.") are so immediately forthcoming with their purpose that you'd have to be a real sludgehead (a term I just created) to not get with the picture. American Radass (this is important) might take shots at itself and whatnot, but really it's just a pretty dead-on critique with what it means to not know what anything actually means.
And it all kind of culminates on "Shit Twins." A nearly 7-minute opus, the song starts sedated, with lazy singing and the kind of guitar playing you might hear in-between songs. But it's easy to tell that this simplicity is building towards a rock-solid hit-on-head climax; one of those musical moments you don't forget because you can't forget. After an absolute flurry of guitar, we get to the point: "You'll say it'll be just like the old days / But it won't be the fucking old days... / Will it be better than before?" The way John Bradley and Scott Scharinger deliver these words just floors me. It's a collision between the hope we all need and the reality we all face. It's tough, man. It's a really tough song to hear. But that's what makes it important (sorry again).
The fantastic thing, though, is that American Radass (this is important) finds important moments (third time, woop!) on almost every song. Single "Bakefest at Piffany's" initially opened us up to the depth of this album with complex ambiguity in pulverizing walls of sound and lines like, "Love is bleaching bed sheets / Because we could never wait." Then closer "Heavy to the Touch (think about tonight, forget about tomorrow)" brings the sweet, sweet pain with guitars that are as schizophrenic as the part-time falsetto vocals. It's a fitting closer if only for the fact that it makes us not want to stop. Dads seem to have this ability to make us satisfied, yet unsure. They sing/yell, "Making land into stories, pictures mean memories / Until you won't recognize me." And that doesn't quite tell us anything concrete. But by being vague and introspective and slightly bizarre, it somehow makes even more sense. Forgive the philosophizing, but life isn't what we make it. It's, perhaps more simply and affectingly, what we think it should be. Sometimes our idealism is all we have. And if something like American Radass (this is important) is right, even the most idealistic of dreams are rooted in a harsh, ugly reality.
Recommended If You Like: Dikembe, You Blew It!, Glocca Morra, Brave Birds
07/16/12 08:30 PM
awesome album. great review blake, always love your stuff
Sic Transit Zeb
07/17/12 07:20 AM
Yeah, i've been jamming this lately. Very good!
Always like the reviews as well, Blake.
07/17/12 07:30 AM
album is fantastic.
07/17/12 07:52 AM
such a glorious album cover and glorious album to boot.