Flobots
Survival Story


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jacob Royal STAFF
March 19th, 2010 | 19 replies | 8,275 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With the politics world reversed since their last album, Flobots find new ground emphasizing their melody over all else.

So I'm a pretty big user of Sputnik. I might not post as much as some other people, but I check this site almost like an acne-laden teenager checks his Facebook account. It's always so interesting to see how others feel about albums that I own, and to see if my opinion matches up with theirs. Maybe minor differences at times, my views have never been too far off the mark. And then, ladies and gentlemen, Survival Story was released.

"What could be so terrible about this album?", I wondered. Flobots had a fairly solid album with Fight With Tools, an inventive but certainly not flawless record that foreshadowed the band's potential. So in the midst of a Coheed and Cambria and This Town Needs Guns musical phase, I decided to step into the battlefront here to see what the commotion was all about, and I purchased the new album (last night, actually). The album has been played quite a few times since then, and this review is being written while noting that the songs will continue to grow on me as time passes.

So... What's the verdict, you ask? To be completely honest, it's the type of album I mostly expected to hear, at least before the tidal pools of negativity festered onto Sputnik. Flobots have an album that perfectly exemplifies their sound, whilst introducing new elements to the mix that fans of the band haven't heard until now.

Before we begin, let's identify one major thing that has obviously changed the band's music, and its lyrics. Barack Obama was elected president between this album and the last, and it's clear that Flobots feel a lot less urgency to politically unify their listeners. I believe this is a good thing; Fight With Tools proved to be a bit much in that department, and here we have the opposite, with songs mentioning the concept of love ("Infatuation", not surprisingly titled) and the roots of the bandmembers, with Jonny 5 and Brer Rabbit craftily telling us that they are the sum of their experiences in "If I". Politics are brought up some, of course, but it's more subdued and easier to digest. It's a new, laid-back feel for the band, and it's a pretty nice thing to hear.

All of the musicians are at the top of their game, for the most part. Jonny 5 once again delivers the raps in a fun way, a way that reminds us that hip-hop isn't quite dead yet. Many of the lyrics are thought-provoking, especially in "Defending Atlantis", an allegory/narrative on the ancient city. "And from the barren wastelands of naked trash,/ We stitched together a shelter from fallen nations' flags/ and chose to build a future from an ancient past." However, there's the occasional off lyric or cheesy line that makes one slightly cringe. For instance, the intro to "The Effect" is a tad stupid, ("It's the F.L.O.B.O.T.S.; what did you expect?" It looks better on paper) But soon, the main hook of the song comes and the song's small problem is counteracted strongly. Brer Rabbit also raps some; however, he ventures into singing territory quite strongly on Survival Story, perhaps a bit too strongly. It isn't the best singing I've ever heard, and can tend to make the choruses of songs almost a bit tacky. (I'm still hoping that "Panacea For The Poison" grows on me a bit more...)

However, all of these things are outweighed by the impressive musicianship evident throughout the album. The musical styles of Fight With Tools are expounded upon, with Flobots reaching types of music that are new terrain for them. "Defending Atlantis" has a chill, on-the-verge-of-reggae feel, and "Airplane Mode" is a dreary and dreamy song that actually makes you feel like you're on an airplane, gazing out at the clouds. The violin is strongly emphasized in the song, too, as well as most of the other songs; the instrument is used in many different ways than it was used on the previous album, which is nice to hear. The drummer is at the top of his game, not with any "The Rhythm Method"-esque efforts but rather with beats that supplement the songs perfectly.

Survival Story is an enjoyable album, and old-school fans of Flobots will definitely find reasons to be hooked to it for a long time. However, the bottom line is that you just need to listen to this album yourself. Whether this album has a 2.2 on Sputnik or a 4.9, well, in the end it only matters what you think. Fans of Fight With Tools are bound to enjoy this album anyways! Listen to the previews online if you need, and if it's something that you think you would be interested in, then by all means pursue it.

Recommended Songs:

The Effect
Defend Atlantis
White Flag Warrior
Superhero
Airplane Mode

Happy listening!



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Chart.
2.9
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other reviews of this album
Nathan Flynn CONTRIBUTOR (2.5)
Armed with more verbal barbs, Johnny 5 takes aim at authority but takes too many shots...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Bulldog
March 19th 2010



3796 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Good review, but I heartily disagree.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 19th 2010



9967 Comments


Why thank you!
I find it interesting, how this album's getting so much hostility.

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

PanasonicYouth
March 19th 2010



7411 Comments


So I'm a pretty big user on this website.


so who exactly are you?

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 19th 2010



9967 Comments


I didn't mean that as an arrogant statement or anything of the sort. As I said in the review, I look at this website a ton for music news, reviews, etc. but don't post much.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 19th 2010



17195 Comments


change on this website, to of this website.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 19th 2010



9967 Comments


I just redid the first sentence; it sounds better now, I believe.
Thank you, fellow Vheissu fan!

thecheatisnotdead
March 20th 2010



695 Comments


The plot thickens. I liked Fight with Tools, but based on what I've heard/read, I'm still on the fence about whether or not I should buy this album.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



9967 Comments


I would advise looking up the songs on Youtube, and seeing if their new style is your cup of tea. I just know that I'm glad I didn't follow Sputnik on this one.

Romulus
March 20th 2010



8410 Comments


Eh.

(My comment is too short.)

tiesthatbind
March 20th 2010



7370 Comments


Don't think I'll be looking into this, but it's nice to see reviews that go against the norm around here on Sputnik. Pos.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



9967 Comments


Thank you very much, TiesThatBind! It's truly appreciated.
And Romulus- "eh" to you too..

Romulus
March 20th 2010



8410 Comments


Oh your review is fine, I'm just not into the album. Don't take my ehs personally.

DoubtGin
March 20th 2010



6748 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good review.. pos'd..

I dont see whats wrong with this album.. I think its pretty solid

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



9967 Comments


Haha, no worries Romulus, I wasn't offended at all.
Thank you very much. And I agree! It's by no means perfect, but has some great moments.

Bulldog
March 21st 2010



3796 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Don't think I'll be looking into this, but it's nice to see reviews that go against the norm around here on Sputnik. Pos.


amen brotha.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2010



9967 Comments


Thanks Brotha!
I'm still listening to this album. I thought I got tired of it, but nope. However, I am VERY tired of White Flag Warriors... But I love the more subtle songs, like Good Soldier & Panacea.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2010



9967 Comments


EDIT: My rating has gone down to a 3.5, because a lot of the songs seem more mediocre to me now. But that doesn't change the fact that it's underrated!

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
November 7th 2010



9033 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I've listened to Airplane Mode 6 times and counting today.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
January 28th 2011



9967 Comments


Airplane Mode is definitely a good song! The first playthrough, it's a really unexpected one for sure.
I've been listening to this album today; I find it quite enjoyable, still. Sure, the rapping can be awkward at times, but the catchiness outweighs it in my opinion.



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