Mondo Primo - 2FN HOT
Record Label: Doghouse Records
Release Date: August 19, 2008
The acronym humour of personalized license plates is neither big nor clever. Come on, people who drive past you with 'H3Y B4BI' or '50 5EXY' aren’t going to make you convulse with laughter. The convulsion usually experienced is restraint from punching the people who pay good money to do this in the back of the head. So upon receiving Mondo Primo’s new CD 2FN HOT, and being told that they sound like Bowling for Soup and Hellogoodbye, I scoffed and clenched my fists. What this shows is you shouldn’t write a band off based on an incredibly silly album title.
The fact is, Mondo Primo do a lot right. Their album is a very catchy, uplifting, and poppy collection of songs. They are well crafted, with big melodies and vocal harmonies. They have that niggling ability to find themselves stuck in a head, while much more intelligent thoughts about global warming or world peace could be forming. But that stuff is all for do-gooders anyway, right?
The album begins well with “Overheated”, which will immediately enter the brain and refuse to leave. The rest of the album more or less continues in this vein, which usually is enough to wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone. However, it is not without its problems. Mondo Primo show a lot of ability and difference from mainstream pop music, but also tend to squander it sometimes in favour of cookie cutter pop songs. The lead vocals by Atom Andersen are at times incredibly interesting, the harmonies between him and back up vocalists Josh Watson and Andrew Samples sounding almost Beach Boys like. They come together incredibly well at some points, while other times they sound borderline boring. On some songs the lead vocals are fairly indistinct, often being drowned out by the melodies. This comes as a disappointment when listening to some of the introductions and bridges, where they all come together quite well. Listening to the beginning of “East Coast Girls” shows this before devolving into a fairly regular pop song.
This isn’t just vocally, some of the most interesting parts of the record musically are saved for introductions and bridges, before once again abandoning the sound for traditional guitar pop. “Dude Your Girlfriend Sucks” begins riotously, with the vocals coming together well, and then progressing into a catchy guitar riff backed up by a great honky-tonk piano. It is then disappointing that the rest of the song is fairly standard. The chorus which repeats “Dude listen up, your girlfriend sucks” begins to grate and the brilliance of the introduction is almost lost.
In regards to lyrics, the Mondo Primo boys often take the humour route, which can be incredibly hit or miss even with the best of bands. It is tough to make an engaging record that is also consistently funny, and 2FN HOT is no exception to this rule. Some lines will have you cringing as most of “Post Party Depression” does. Mercifully, Mondo Primo are often entertaining and at times genuinely funny. Self-deprecation and references to Mario Kart go down well, as does the call out to ready made bands in “Bands with Brand New Amps”. Anyone who has spent time bashing Cute is What We Aim For on a forum will be tickled by this song, as it certainly touches humorously on an issue shared by many.
While there are problems, some more noticeable than others, in 2FN HOT, the fact remains that the album is incredibly catchy. Even if some of the more interesting points are squandered, the songs often still hold up on their own. If Mondo Primo can find a way to integrate the more original sections into the entirety of their songs, the band could be huge. As it stands, this is an interesting outing that will have you bopping and singing along for most of the record.