Family Force 5 – Business Up Front/Party In The Back (Diamond Edition)
Record Label: Maverick/Gotee Records
Release Date: March 20, 2007
Family Force 5 and I have been through a whirlwind courtship. I first discovered them at this year’s Warped Tour. Their live show: Wow. Between the +/- 9 guys on stage, a few were in 80’s jumpsuits, one was gyrating oddly to a song only he could hear, and the lead singer punched the air with large, silver Hulk gloves. The show gave off an odd sensation. My first inclination was to mock the living daylights out of these guys, but then I realized that would be exactly what they wanted. So instead I turned my frown upside down and got a tad jiggy with it. And the curious part? Everyone else was doing the same thing.
So with a bit of apprehension I strolled into my nearest mega entertainment store, dodged all my former high school foes, and bought Business Up Front/Party In The Back (Diamond Edition). This was a strictly-for-pleasure venture. Seriously, I had no intention of ever reviewing the disc. My curse, though, is enlightening people about good music. Business is most definitely great music. Sure, Family Force 5’s mix of hip-hop, “crunk rock,” post-hardcore and electronica might not be for everyone, but it’s almost like this record was made specifically for me. The jokes are lame (sounds about right), the 80’s references are plentiful, and the disregard for all musical conventions is hilariously devious. One word: Keytar.
Thus far we have established that FF5 create awkward and occasionally heavy mixes of many genres. A drunken southerner probably wrote their lyrics. And, most importantly, as detailed in “Kountry Gentleman,” don’t you dare talk bad about their mommas. Coming as a shock, however, are the Christian values included. “Love Addict” features a vocoder-heavy breakdown and uplifting lyrics. The message ain’t new, but the heavy guitars and shrieks of Slow Glow Activator (AKA Solomon Olds) are surely fresh.
Occasionally, FF5 straight drop beatz. “Replace Me” camouflages itself as an indie rock song until the second verse kicks in and a Compton-inspired siren urges Mr. Activator forward with his bratty flow. “Supersonic” opens with snapping, a whirring electronic and some chugging guitars. Another dancey beat backs up Activator as he wavers between a loud whisper and angsty screams. I’ve had problems with the wrong people using electronics before, but these beats are professional and mix well with the rock elements. After all, a little parmesan only makes the pepperoni and sausage taste better.
One of the bonus tracks, “Face Down,” might feature the fewest genres, but this is actually an encouraging fact. Even without the gimmicks of keytars and white boy afros, FF5 still rock. And no matter what their subsequent albums sound like, the band will always traverse new ground. Really, this is more a letter of adoration than some fancy-pants review. Freakin’ buy this.