Family Force 5
Business Up Front, Party In The Back


3.0
good

Review

by Nathaniel Fritz USER (17 Reviews)
October 18th, 2007 | 38 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "I'm just making sure you keep it C-R-U-N-K in the U-S-A, if you know what I mean."

While listening to Family Force 5’s debut CD, Business Up Front, Party in the Back, I was reminded of an unintentionally funny episode from my camping days as a Boy Scout. Back when I was 14, my Boy Scout troop attended this “Jamboree” (that’s the corny word Boy Scouts of America likes to use to describe huge campouts) at a retired air force base close to the University of Illinois. It was a carnival of sorts: large inflatable slides were set up on the old runway; a hip and cool DJ played PG-rated hits from the likes of Sheryl Crow, Kylie Minogue, and Sugar Ray; and the Air Force tried giving away free hats to entice us into joining the Air Force.

The second night of the campout, the powers-that-be set up some special entertainment for us: a local Christian rapper who looked exactly like Bobby Brown. His name unfortunately escapes me, but I do remember he had his sidekicks along by the names of Blessing and The Bookkeeper. Needless to say, they sucked pretty bad, but what I found especially funny were the 50 or so white suburban kids – kids who knew less about rap than Louie Anderson knows about dieting – who were totally into the performance and were doing their best to recreate that cool scene they had seen from 8 Mile. I guess the main point to take away from this is that the unintentional comedy from this scene was quite high.

The same can be said of self-proclaimed “crunk rockers” Family Force 5. You’ve probably already picked up on the fact that they named their album after the only haircut to get its own short-lived TV show on UPN starring John O’Hurley – that’s right, the mullet. Ah, but the humor doesn’t stop there with these guys; they’ve given each other fun stage names! There’s the lead singer Soul Glow Activatur; the DJ Nadaddy; the bassist Phatty; the guitarist Chap Stique (who replaced the band’s original guitarist, 20 Cent); and, last but not least, the drummer Crouton! What’s more, they like incorrect spelling in their song titles (“Cadillac Phunque,” “Kountry Gentleman,” “Put Ur Hands Up,”) and expressive lyrics such as “Chicka-pow!” and “WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!”

Factor in their undying ambition to make rap-infused-rock that will “get ur party on” and it all adds up to what you would think would be a Saturday Night Live skit starring Andy Samberg and Will Forte. Business Up Front, Party in the Back is sooooooo over the top that, at times, it would be better off just as an SNL skit: it is grating and it is annoying and there are parts of it you will probably hate. However, for what it is, it’s impeccably produced and Solomon Olds, FF5’s lead singer and co-producer, has a definite talent for creating catchy and out-of-the-ordinary songs.

The band can also legitimately claim it has its own distinct style, a rather amazing feat given that their music is solely made up of clear derivatives. Really, Business Up Front, Party in the Back is sort of like the ultimate mash-up album: far-ranging influences from Kid Rock to Beastie Boys to OutKast to Usher to Green Day to Rage Against the Machine are all fused together – sometimes in the same song – and then Olds put his own “I Love the ‘80s” spin on that. There are lots and lots of cheesy-sounding synthesizers that actually mix well with the heavy distorted guitars found most often. Olds himself mostly sounds like Zach de la Rocha – if Zach was trying to inspire people to do The Centipede rather than rebel against the government. His brothers, Jacob (“Crouton”) and Joshua (“Phatty”), also make frequent vocal contributions – Phatty playing the role of Andre 3000 and Crouton as Big Boi. Together, the three Olds brothers are mildly amusing and non-detrimental to the music at their best and terribly annoying at their worst.

As you might guess, Family Force 5 doesn’t have that much to say, other than to make sure that “You keep it C-R-U-N-K in the U-S-A,” as Crouton says on “Supersonic.” Fair enough – every song is catchy and some are even (dare I say it) artistically daring. Okay, maybe not. But at their best, FF5 wander a little off the beaten path. The Butch Walker-produced track “Put Ur Hands Up” relies heavily on a quirky Wurlitzer loop to go along with a synth-bass driven beat; all the while, Crouton and Phatty repeatedly shout out “Ugly people, put your hands down!” (This track is a good litmus test for trying out the band; if you can handle “Put Ur Hands Up” without punching your computer screen, this album might be for you.)

Sometimes the album’s derivatives don’t add up to anything more than derivatives. “Cadillac Phunque” and “Kountry Gentleman” steal too much from Kid Rock and the guitar riff in “Drama Queen” is an almost-exact copy of No Doubt’s “Hella Good.” And did I mention this is over-the-top? I mean, really over the top? At times such as the chorus of “Supersonic” (“Do you wanna get supa-sonic? You gotsa-to-get supa-sonic. Get, get, get supa-sonic. Supa-dupa-sonic, baby.), it is as annoying as any recorded music of the past ten years.

However, the moments when the band showcases even the slightest bit of seriousness (“Replace Me,” “Lose Urself”) showcases a band that actually has talent and could be more than a class clown if it wanted to be. Business Up Front, Party in the Back shows little to no willingness to rise above that label, but there are enough enjoyable moments on this disc to save Family Force 5 from becoming a farce.

Recommended Tracks:
Put Ur Hands Up

Replace Me

Lose Urself



Recent reviews by this author
Emery ...In Shallow Seas We SailAcceptance Phantoms
Copeland You Are My SunshineJon Foreman Fall and Winter
Ivoryline There Came A LionNumber One Gun The North Pole Project
user ratings (201)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
David Shephard (3.5)
Love them or hate them, they do what they do what they do pretty well....


Comments:Add a Comment 
LaidToRest329
October 18th 2007


158 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

good review, ff5 are just another myspace band to me, I don't think anyone will remember them in 5 years

clairvoyant
October 19th 2007


765 Comments


nice review.

roofi
October 20th 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

[quote=LaidToRest329]I don't think anyone will remember them in 5 years[/quote]
Quite likely, especially if they keep up the schtick that's prevalent on this CD. I actually really didn't want to give this any sort of positive rating, but unfortunately the music was good enough that it mandated a decent score.

Thanks for the votes, by the way.

ToWhatEnd
October 20th 2007


3172 Comments


This band is possibly the most gimmick filled piece of crap I have ever come across. They played All Time Low's CD release show and made me want to vomit. To sum them up; imagine a MSI cover band taking themselves serious and targeting the 14 year old audience with their appearance, lyrics and sound. That's my take based off of a half hour set, so meh.

I'll get around to listening to this one day but I'm sure the rating won't be as kind as yours. Good review though.

Fort23
October 20th 2007


2480 Comments


I don't think ill ever get anything by a band called Famaily Force Five, but on the other hand the review was excellent enough to almost convince me a quarter of the way up. in other words, the reivew is good keep reviewing.

roofi
October 20th 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ToWhatEnd: I know what you're talking about, your thoughts were pretty much the same as mine before I listened to this CD -- and I still don't really like them. Did they really suck live, though? Because they've sort of gotten a rep for being quite energetic live and their material seems to be the sort of stuff that would translate better live.
EDIT: Again, thanks to all for voting.This Message Edited On 10.20.07

sarah203
October 21st 2007


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'd have to say that I really like FF5. And their Diamond Edition of this CD is even better. Although some songs can get somewhat annoying after a while.
Good review.

ToWhatEnd
October 21st 2007


3172 Comments


They were fairly energetic but the mix of generic music, their appearance, and the 14 year old girls going wild over crappy music was too much for me to handle. I really wish I had a tomato in hand at that show...

roofi
October 22nd 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^^^Turd sandwiches get the point across better in my opinion.

EDIT: Holy crap! my site ranking just jumped 800 spots since I last logged in. I think I just wet myself a little.This Message Edited On 10.22.07

Fort23
October 22nd 2007


2480 Comments


:o




.

Monticello
October 22nd 2007


805 Comments


EDIT: Holy crap! my site ranking just jumped 800 spots since I last logged in. I think I just wet myself a little.

That happened to me as well after 6 reviews. I wouldn't pay attention to ranking though, it doesn't have any relevance to anything. Shame.
This Message Edited On 10.22.07

roofi
October 22nd 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

[quote=Monticello]That happened to me as well after 6 reviews. I wouldn't pay attention to ranking though, it doesn't have any relevance to anything. Shame.[/quote]
*looks forlorn, embarassed that he peed himself over this*This Message Edited On 10.22.07

ddnyy11188
November 14th 2007


38 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

they are awesome live, to be honest. and i dont like this CD much at all. they're just as ridiculous live, it's just more entertaining to watch then to listen to them.

AllBoutTheBenjamins
July 12th 2008


12 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This cd is probably the most flamboyent peice of music i've ever heard.

The only decent track is Love Addict, and thats just because its catchy as hell. 6 hours after i listen to it, i'll still be singing "hold on, wait aminute, put a little LOVE in it"


AndyRictor2000
August 31st 2008


146 Comments


The only review you need to read on this band can be found using the link below from somethingawful.com

http://www.somethingawful.com/d/garbage-day/family-force-trapt.php

I quote, "the group(family force 5) was diabolically manufactured as an experiment to test the populace's pain threshold."


P13
August 31st 2008


1327 Comments


is this a remake of the Jackson 5?

IAmInsect
August 31st 2008


3799 Comments


i cant tell if you're serious but no it's some christian crunk bullshit

P13
August 31st 2008


1327 Comments


wasn't, but holy fuck thats even worse

roofi
August 31st 2008


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

You guys must hate fun.

IAmInsect
August 31st 2008


3799 Comments


every FF5 fan says that when i tell them i hate the bandThis Message Edited On 08.31.08



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy