Flobots
Fight With Tools


3.5
great

Review

by Ryan Flatley EMERITUS
May 27th, 2008 | 60 replies | 170,032 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Flobots manage to create a beautiful and enticing indie/hip-hop album with an intelligent, political backdrop leading the way.

There is a war going on for your mind; among commercials, advertisements, the news, media (yes, critics included), and countless other parts of life. It is this facet of society that is trying to grab your vote, your dollar, or whatever it may be. Now meet Flobots, a band who teeters with everyday political and ethical topics in a respectably sophisticated manner. Oh yeah, did I mention that there is a war going on for your mind? The Colorado natives combine hip-hop with indie rock, producing a tastefully fresh sound behind their lyrical endeavors. It is that kind of sound that just might open ears and eyes in the same movement. After all, there is a war going on for your mind.

Flobot’s album, Fight With Tools, marks their major label debut. Their recognition may accredited to their single, “Handlebars,” which is practically the epitome of incredible indie/hip-hop music. Through a delightfully charming viola and trumpet, vocalist Johnny 5 smoothly sings and raps a defiant message about corporate big-wigs versus everyday common people in an almost theatrical movement. What starts out with viola plucking evolves into a deep and passionate song, feverishly building into an epic release of energy. “Handlebars” assembles upon every craftily constructed verse in an almost call-and-response effect making it brilliantly effective with lines as a ordinary kid, ‘I can show you how to do-si-do/I can show you how to scratch a record/ I can take apart the remote control/ and I can almost put it back together…’ versus a corporate machine, ‘I can hand out a million vaccinations/ or let‘em all die in exasperation/ have’em all healed from their lacerations/ or have’em all killed by assassination,’ but even these lines barely tell the story. Even so, Johnny 5 isn’t the only one in the vocal and lyrical spotlight. Brer Rabbit and Johnny 5 do the majority of the vocal work together, which is generally split in half according to the song. The flow between Rabbit and Johnny are flawless in “The Rhythm Method (Move!),” which contains a joint ‘on-command’ instrumental section behind a steady beat. Even violist, Mackenzie Roberts shows her elegant voice with Brer Rabbit in the hypnotizing and upbeat “Never Had It” (which features a pretty badass guitar solo if I don’t say so myself). But with every vocalist and lyricist comes the backbone and heart to every song.

Musically, Flobots are a cohesive unit that ultimately provides a thick layer behind the vicarious raps of Rabbit and Johnny. Generally the instruments can be placed into an indie/alternative-rock/pop genre with a funk twist. “Fight With Tools” and “Mayday!!!” are both musical highlights. “Fight With Tools” is lead by a silky smooth bass-line (reminiscent of Morning View-esque Incubus at times) with fluttering viola strums in the background while the guitar remains casually relaxed. Meanwhile, “Mayday!!!” carries away with staccato alternative guitar work alongside the always welcome trumpet appearance. Elsewhere, during “Stand Up,” the viola work is as elegant as something Owen Pallett from Final Fantasy would conjure up but with a much greater intensity. “Rise Up” combines all of these elements within Fight With Tools in the sense that every instrument works together, cohesively. And as cliché as “Rise Up” may sound, it really doesn’t falter in its final product. It may be because for the past forty-five minutes Flobots managed to create a beautiful and enticing album with an intelligent, political backdrop.

While most of the Fight With Tools is pretty damn impressive, there are just moments that never find their fit within the album. Still even with the lack of a truly cohesive album, it is hard to overlook the achievements lyrically and musically like in “Handlebars” and “Fight With Tools.” Going off on a limb, I would say Flobots have something going for them with Fight With Tools. This is only the beginning for Flobots, who show they have the potential to produce something special.



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other reviews of this album
Guzzo CONTRIBUTOR (4)
Sometimes as a band, you get lucky on your first try, creating material that has been seen before, b...

Aziz STAFF (4)
Fight With Tools is a "rare fish swimming in the sea of mediocrity that is present day Hip-Hop."...


Comments:Add a Comment 
mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2008



17914 Comments


Now meet, Flobots, a band who teeters with everyday political and ethical topics in a respectably sophisticated manner

take out the first comma

or i'll take out your boner


IsItLuck?
Emeritus
May 28th 2008



4925 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

cool album, www.myspace.com/flobots for more listens. I put up 'handlebars'

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
May 28th 2008



4925 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks for the typo fix-ups, I'm at the end of my night here.
Yeah I see where you're coming from, but it's better than a lot of other political banter to be honest.

Yeah dude, definitely.

Iai
Emeritus
May 28th 2008



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm not sure what to make of this album. It almost sounds as if somebody presented a group of musicians with a sheet of paper describing a good hip-hop album, and then they went away and made what they thought that was based on what they'd read. Something intangible about it just seems so fabricated.

Otisbum
May 28th 2008



1912 Comments


I didn't really like any of the other songs aside from Handlebars. Might go back and give it another listen.

SHOOTME
May 28th 2008



2393 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I would love my town more if they played Handlebars more on the radio station. I heard it's become a big radio hit, and thats great.

astrel
June 9th 2008



2613 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Their flow is abysmal, but I really, really, like the production.

Eliminator
June 9th 2008



2067 Comments


first paragraph is so gay omfg

no elimatr ur gay llol

SHOOTME
June 9th 2008



2393 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Eliminator you are on full force this week, whats up? You got fired from your job, if you ever had one?This Message Edited On 06.09.08

Burn2Burn
June 9th 2008



2378 Comments


your/you're = soooo hard to differentiate.

Eliminator
June 9th 2008



2067 Comments


your a faggot

astrel
June 11th 2008



2613 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

that's just you're opinion.

Shrapnel94
June 11th 2008



2213 Comments


my friend keeps braggin about how amazing these guys are... maybe i should give them a listen.

The Jungler
June 11th 2008



4827 Comments


single kinda surprised me just because everyone in my school talks about it so I didn't expect it to sound like that. I'm not really sure I like it though.
good review of course.

Rhaegar
June 12th 2008



24 Comments


Handle bars yay!

hegster90
June 22nd 2008



96 Comments


Flobots = Cake + Eminem + a smigin of talent.

Oddsen
July 11th 2008



1127 Comments


handlebars is only awesome because it has a trumpet solo

and fyi I can ride my bike with no handlebars

ilikemusicthatsucks
July 11th 2008



1063 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah well I can lead a nation with a microphone.

charlesfishowitz
July 11th 2008



1794 Comments


this sounds too much like one of those safe christian rock rap groups..



very disappointing.

combustion07
July 11th 2008



5303 Comments


Love this band/album



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