It's an interesting thing, reviewing a band's debut album. You never know what to expect when you start the first track and there's a slight sense of trepidation - Will it be awful? Will I hate it? Will I love it?
fun.'s debut, Aim and Ignite, was nothing what I expected. Not that I was exactly sure what I expected - Considering I'd heard they were indie pop, I suppose I thought they'd be in the vain of Jason Schwartzman's Coconut Records and knowing of their forthcoming tour with Miniature Tigers, perhaps I was thinking they'd share some of the Tigers' lazy, sunny pop sensibilities. While that's not completely off base, fun. is a lot grander than any of their peers and sound as if they're on their way of being the Queen of indie music. Dramatic and energetic, fun. relies on layered vocals, the occasional orchestra, lyrics about girls and is the very definition of power pop.
The mournful violins of the stellar first song, Be Calm, quickly transition into a lyrically sad, melodicly catchy indie pop tune that changes time signatures more times than I can count and ends triumphant and powerful with horns, searing electric guitar and falsetto vocals. After Be Calm, however, fun.'s Queen influence becomes overwhelming and songs start to bleed together. All The Pretty Girls is quite infectious and Take Your Time (Coming Home) is catchy enough but in a sea of songs that sound so similar, the best bits of fun.'s debut get lost.
The album is well composed but after ten songs, their sensabilities grow overpowering and considering the high levels of production that are present, I'd be quite interested to see fun. live to see how their sound transitions. And, as it happens, I'll get that chance next month as they'll be in town next month for a gig at Schubas on September 24.
Featuring Nate Ruess of the Format, Andrew Dost of Anathallo and Jack Antonoff of Steel Train, fun. is already gathering significant buzz as an indie supergroup and will probably the album of late summer amongst groups of hipsters.