As artists get older and more experienced they learn to harness the moments that define their vision. This harnessed creative potential results in expressive cohesion, and ultimately produces albums that convey more than just a collection of experiences. Releases with singular, purposeful focuses aren’t particularly common, but hints of them can be found scattered elsewhere.
It’s during these hints that Dads’ I’ll Be The Tornado begs to emerge into a pointed statement. “Take Back Today” is the album’s penultimate track –a brooding and punchy song, with observant lyrics and a massive riff carrying the bridge. As the lyrics “where does your shadow go?” are repeated into a crashing outro, the album finds the direction it has been seeking for the preceding eight tracks.
The album’s title, I’ll Be The Tornado, turns personal interaction into destruction, describing a literal wiping clear of the landscape. The central question of “where does your shadow go?” in “Take Back Today” grasps for closure as it examines the leftover debris. The seven-minute epilogue “Only You” is the exclamation point after the cathartic eruption in “Take Back Today”. The wistfully sung resolutions and the tense strumming are indicative of the narrative struggle to place something that has been lost.
The preceding eight tracks are full of lyrical searches for what was razed, over dynamic stops and starts. Despite meaningful questioning in the beautiful, sprawling, “But”, and the cheeky realism of “The Romantic Ocean”, Dads are just barely unable to tie a thread through the surges and swoons of exploration. “Grand Edge, MI” opens with a scene that lists objects and experiences from the past, with a frustrated lack of meaning, and many minutes later on “Sunburned Jet Wings”, there is still a pervading sense of emptiness where understanding longs to be. Only in the final two tracks of the album do Dads seem to define the scope of their wondering (“where does your shadow go?”) and then seek to answer it.
Nonetheless, I’ll Be The Tornado is an engaging listen, and its clever introspection over finely crafted arrangements serves to emphasize the hints of totally harnessed purpose that show what the band is capable of.