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Old 05-19-2008, 06:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Flobots - Fight With Tools

This is my first review, wish me luck.

Released: October 16 2007
1. There's A War Going On For Your Mind
2. Mayday!!!
3. Same Thing
4. Stand Up
5. Fight With Tools
6. Handlebars
7. Never Had It
8. Combat
9. The Rhythm Method (Move!)
10. Anne Braden
11. We Are Winning
12. Rise

The second release from Denver based alternative/indie/rap group is certainly an interesting release from a group that does a few different things fairly well. The group themselves is comprised of the standard rock fare (guitarist, bassist and drummer) as well as a trumpet player(trumpeter??) and violinist. These latter are a huge asset to the flobots, giving them style and substance. All in all this album has stood out for me in a number of good ways, as well as a few bad.

The albums opener begins with a violin piece followed by half rapped, half spoken lyrics about America's obsession with looks, among other things:
There's a war going on for your mind/Media mavens mount surgical strikes from/trapper keeper collages and online magazine racks/Cover girl cutouts/throw up pop-up ads/Infecting victims with silicone shrapnel
This is actually quite a nice intro to the album, giving you a feel for what the Flobots are all about without giving away to much.

The next track 'Mayday!!!' is possibly my favorite track on the album. The song has a good beat to it which is supplemented by the guitar. All the while the violin is playing in the background, with the trumpet interspersed throughout in just the right places as to make the song very provocative.

'Same Thing' starts out with a funky guitar groove with a very upbeat yet forceful feel to it culminating in a short Rage Against The Machine-esque climax.

'Stand Up' is basically a call to action for humanitarianism, with a chorus of:
Stand up/We shall not be moved/Except By a child with no socks and shoes
pretty decent...

'Fight With Tools' is a pretty good song, but I found the chorus to be a little cliche:
we need heroes/build them/don't put your fist up/fill them/Fight with our hopes and our hearts and our hands/we're the architects of our last stand

'Handlebars' starts out feeling sorta folky with some staccato plucking of guitar. It then transitions very well via the bass drums into a heavier bit, after which it ends on the same vein as it began. This song is the albums first single, and has been getting some pretty good radio air time. In fact, the first time I heard the Flobots was when this song came on XM. Good choice for a single.

'Never Had It' is pretty good. The female vocals in this song are much more prominent than in the other songs. It ends with some nice guitar soloing which at this point in the album you haven't heard too much of.

'Combat' is a shorter track with a basic beat, and some pseudo beat-boxing throughout. This track is very extraneous IMO

'The Rhythm Method' is fairly standard aside from the lyrics which just kinda made me laugh (meant to be funny? don't know...):
move/like the dude from chappelle's show/let it rip like velcro and wanna/hang with the orangutans?/mass appeal massive bananas in hand
Second least favorite song.

Next we got 'Anne Braden'. This song has a slower, lumbering bass line and a more somber feel. The slightly more minimal instrumentals help to emphasize the rapping. The female vocals are refreshing with a crooning quality to them. I'll call it my third favorite song on the album. The melancholy of the song is done well.

'We Are Winning' is yet another political/call to action type song. Around this time in the album you'll probably start to get a little turned off by this banality.

'Rise' is my second favorite song on the album. It has a very nice beat, again supported by some subtle guitar/bass cooperation.
Feel infected like we've got gangrene/Please don't let anybody try to change me/Me/Just me

My Rating: 7.5/10

The album has some great, upbeat, non-"Bitches and Hoes" rapping on it with some very strong musicianship, but it does tend to get repetitive. The fact that the album probably doesn't warrant more than a couple listens is a testament to its originality and creativity, but it is certainly worth a listen if you're into this sorta thing. I'd say the Flobots' strongest quality is their ability to have style while not sacrificing substance, and thats something most bands don't do well.

Last edited by tkpb938; 05-20-2008 at 06:46 AM.
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