Review Summary: The Format's debut album has 5 or 6 radio quality tracks on it, but for now, lets just keep our little secret.
It wouldn't seem possible for a band named The Format with a song called "The First Single" to be mentioned anywhere close to the words musical genious. At first glance, you would write them into a different chapter, maybe a different book, or hell, just pencil them into bargain rack. But that is one thing that I will always love about music, even in this so called dismal age. There will always be something out there that just completely takes you by suprise and sweep you off your feet. Those may seem like bold words for an indie pop twosome(Nate Russ and Same Means) from the deserts of Arizona, but anyone willing to admit to themselves that good music is good music will find something they like about The Format.
I've heard The Formats second album, Dog Problems, compared to Queen, with its beautiful high pitched vocals and epic piano. Well, in similar fashion, I suppose I would call Interventions And Lullabies The Beatles. But more along the lines of the pop masterpeice Please Please Me than Sgt Peppers. It's stripped down, rarely sounding like more than guitar and drums and all around pop greatness from beginning to end. The complete lack of cookie cutter sameness is what will make you realize the intentional irony of the band's name.
Tracks: I'll try and keep it simple.
1. The First Single: The appropriately named first track would have been the band's first single had this album not been thrown in dumpster by Atlantic records. However, had the band been heavily promoted at this point in their career, this would be one of the songs that would make them a hit outside of the indie crowd. It odd how it takes a simple drum beat, 4 chords, words about a girl, and catchy hook found in just about every other song, and manages to completely revolutionize it. (5/5)
2. Wait, Wait, Wait: I believe this second track was featured on the soundtrack to the MTV show "Laguna Beach". But don't let that give you a bad impression. This is another simple upbeat song that will be stuck in your head for days. It completely sounds like it should not be listened to unless you are partying on the beach or driving with the top down. (4/5)
3. Give It Up: The third track slows things down a bit, but not too much, because this still is The Format. The lyrics sound as though the song is talking about leaving familiar territory and going out into the world. A great song because it totally relates to the demographic this band reaches. Again, this song is nothing but one catchy hook beginning to end, and after you few listens, you won't help but be able to sing along. (4/5)
4. Tie The Rope: The upbeat nature of this song kind of hides the almost sinister lyrics. The song is about a girl who is basically torturing this guy, and doesn't even care, essentially leaving him for dead, emotionally and walking away.
"Just tie the rope and kick the chair. Just leave me hanging there,
gasping for air yeah,
dont mind me three feet from the ceiling.
And i think i know why you never get to close.
It's cause youre too scared to.
When im with you theres no point in breathing. "
Not really my favorite song on the album. (3.5/5)
5. Tune Out: There is no better song for driving down the highway with the windows down on a nice day, becaue the metaphor actually takes place on a highway with the windows down and the radio up. That would make a lame song, but of course, in natural Format style, the song is about a relationship gone bad that has become kind of akward. This song is the fullest sounding in the sense that there a are few guitars, as well as a keyboard in the song. (4.5/5)
6. I'm Ready, I Am: A lot of people like this song, but I can never get into. I find it very anticlimatic in comparison to the rest of the songs. I would actually say I find myself skipping over this track when listening to the album. I think the song is about love taken for granted. Still, give the track a listen because otheres seem to enjoy it, and it still is The Format. (2.5/5)
7. On Your Porch: Finally, we get a break here. This song DEFINITELY slows things down. I would call it a full out ballad. It's just what sounds like two acoustic guitars and an orchestral section. This song is even moreso bland than the last song. Again, very anticlimatic, and just not what The Format do best. If you don't walk away bobbin your head or screaming the lyrics at the top of your lungs, it is no The Format, Kudos for trying to make a song like this though. (2.5/5)
8. Sore Thumb: Okay, now we have the crappy part of the album out of our system. We are back on the upswing here, although Sore Thumb doesn't quite live up the first five songs. Another song, similar to I'm Ready, I Am, that I find myself skipping over. The crashing intro is deinitely a sigh of relief after the near suicidal On Your Porch. A good way to sum up this song is that it could definitely be put on the radio. And I mean that in the worst way possible. But stay positive, because it still sounds like The Format, which can never be bad. (3/5)
9. A Mess To Be Made: Another semi ballad, but this time it's done right. The song goes does a great job of building up through its entirety, leading up accordion lead bridge section. I personally think this is among the best songs on the album lyrically. It is seemingly about a materialistic woman and a not so much man who stay together because they love each other, but are really a ticking time bomb because of this. Solid track. (3.5/5)
10. Let's Make This Moment A Crime: We are finally back to the quality of the first half of the album. It starts with a nice little slow guitar riff that makes it sound like it will be the last song all over again, but evenutally leads up to a booming chorus. This track follows the same subject matter of the rest of the album. A relationship bound to crash and burn, and the real crime is the two of them staying together, although that is what they want. (4/5)
11. Career Pay: This song sounds as though it should be the last song on the album. A slower song, I can't quite pick up on what its about, but the song builds up to a haunting choir doing a call and response type of gig at the end. Not my favorite track, but deinitely solid. (3.5/5)
12. A Save Situation: A good thing Career Pay wasn't the last song, because then we wouldn't have A Save Situation. A great track as far as final songs go. It starts off some odd, oh lets call them racecar sounds that make it sound like we will be in for a Godspeed You! Black Emporer song. But alas, we have another acoustic ballad, accompanied by a horn section. This might just be one of my favorite slower songs ever. It is very short, which is good, because it doesn't fall victim to great songs that drag. Stellar ending to a stellar album. (5/5)
This album, although it suffers from a few average tracks, is still an excellent indie pop album, and as I said, has something for everybody. If you are ever in a good mood, I would at least give the first 5 tracks a listen. They are, quite honestly, immaculate.
Note: This is my first review. I'm not a great writer as far as crituiqe's go, so go easy on me.