Fat Freddy's Drop
Based on a True Story


5.0
classic

Review

by the_patient USER (1 Reviews)
May 18th, 2008 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A true representation of New Zealand music.

New Zealand. We’re a strange, diverse bunch, and our music is much the same. But what exactly does that mean? Well, it’s just like ice-cream. You may have heard of a flavour but you never know what it tastes like until you’ve tried it. Recently, I chose the quintessential New Zealand flavour of music. So if you’re looking to do the same, allow me to whet your appetite.

Fat Freddy’s Drop was born in the melting pot of the arts scene in Wellington back in 2001. The seven-piece toured frequently, funded their own record label, and released a live album during their first year together. In May 2005, “Based on a True Story” graced the charts for the first of its 107 weeks in our Top 40, eventually selling 105,000 units (seven times platinum in NZ) and garnering various admirable accolades; New Zealand’s first independent release to hit number one and the country’s second greatest selling album. The BBC’s Worldwide program even classed it as their Album of the Year, and for a kiwi band to be recognised that far away is a pretty big thing here.

“Based on a True Story” encompasses the true kiwi sound as it effortlessly weaves roots, dub, reggae, soul, jazz and funk throughout the record. Although this is common for many New Zealand bands, Fat Freddy’s Drop have the X factor that makes their music such a joy to listen to and stand out above the crowd. Wandering Eye, the primary single from the album builds with an ostinato bassline and syncopated guitar chords, while the brass section utilises crescendos during the verse. The chorus opens with vocalist Dallas Tamaira’s pronouncing “I got the wandering eye”, to which the horns reply with the equivalent melodic motif. Roady injects the soul and funk into the album, declaring that FFD “…do it for the love of music” before a skillful trumpet solo by Toby Laing ends the piece. “Based on a True Story” also relaxes at times, for example on the finale Hope, where the double bass and keyboards work together with the vocals of Tamaira and guest diva Hollie Smith to craft a laid back atmosphere akin to the record’s overall feel.

The performances on the album seldom relies on technical prowess, rather they focus on musicality and producing catchy, well-rounded compositions. FFD choose to explore more melodic motifs, where the horns effortlessly mingle in the mix of the music, floating majestically over the rhythm’s soulful currents, yet easily dip below the surface, waiting for the next wave to appear. Dallas’ soothing vocals illuminate the song’s atmosphere regardless of major or minor key tonality, and the drums always accentuate the style whether it be the reggae feel of “Cay’s Crays” or the upbeat soul of “Roady”. For these musicians, the style they play is always natural.

For me, it’s hard to imagine what the rest of the world thinks of our music. Before Flight of the Conchords, one-hit-wonders “OMC” were the best musical export we had entering #10 in the US singles chart back in ’96. Now they’re NZ folklore. But now the rest of the world has the opportunity to hear one of NZ’s best records – Based on a True Story.


user ratings (44)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
AtavanHalen
August 30th 2008


17927 Comments


I'm just about to get this, and I can't believe there aren't any comments on this; I could have sworn I had written.
Either way, hope this is as good as you say.

Raskolni
April 2nd 2009


3 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is a allready a legendary album in my eyes. Its a wonderful mixture of steady reggaebeats, speaking blazers, energetic drums and a wonderful voice. My advice would be to try it, and if there playing in your town, be sure to watch them. Ive seen them, and it would be a shame not to take this opportunity...

Collis
September 7th 2010


449 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Seeing them live in a few days YES YES YES!

This is probably the best band that I have discovered in the past six months or so. And every person I recommend it to falls in love with it.

I'm surprised they're not bigger!

Yotimi
February 15th 2011


6495 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

wow this is really good

Digging: Chrome Sparks - Goddess

AtavanHalen
February 15th 2011


17927 Comments


These dudes killed it over the weekend at Good Vibrations festival.

Yotimi
February 15th 2011


6495 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah I can tell these guys would be great to see live

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
February 15th 2011


31163 Comments


I can never decide who I prefer live though; these guys or Katchafire

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

qwe3
May 21st 2012


21362 Comments


amazing album havent listened in so long

qwe3
May 30th 2012


21362 Comments


everyone should listen to this btw

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2012


31163 Comments


^^^

Collis
July 6th 2012


449 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

DROPPING ON A REGULAR BASIS

This is so amazing. So much horn.

MichaelSnoxall
August 14th 2012


12163 Comments


Love this album.

itchybutthole
October 17th 2013


2491 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fuck this is surprisingly great and i dont like reagge

Phlegm
December 31st 2013


4645 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

goes down well on the long summer nights :')

Digging: Yung Lean - Unknown Memory

RVAHC13
February 23rd 2014


508 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Dayum, this album got me back into reagge

Digging: My Fictions - Stranger Songs

Phlegm
February 23rd 2014


4645 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

learning to breathe again 4 the first time

SkaCali
May 15th 2014


59 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

one of my favs, everyone should listen to this btw[2]


Phlegm
May 15th 2014


4645 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

u rock ! :D

SkaCali
May 15th 2014


59 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

my scarf face loves you



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