Nate Ruess storms back to the forefront of the indie-pop scene with his newest, high energy, (pun-intended) fun band: fun. Yes, they are named fun. (with the period) and yes they are a fun band, and no, I am not kidding. They are the aftermath of the ending of indie-pop giants The Format and I must begin by admitting my general distaste for them. While I would not want to change the song if they were on, I was just never very fond of them. But fun. is a COMPLETELY different story for me. Bringing something interesting and refreshing to my ears this year is Aim and Ignite which features the likes of a wide variety of ‘fun’ things from the general catchy lovely tones of Mr. Ruess’ voice to amazing string parts, beautifully constructed guitar leads and even a choral, queen oriented introduction! Fun. is nothing but exactly that, and the album is worth every second and every cent.
The album opens with the upbeat, refreshing “Be Calm” which features a organ/string combo introduction. This then leads into a perfectly staccato verse featuring a melody from Ruess to keep your attention and lightens up for several sections of focusing on Ruess’ vocals. It then enters into a back and forth between several vocalists in each ear and picks up momentum from there. You cannot do anything but help to bob your head in time with the vocal melody throughout. As it picks up more momentum some horns, a large bell and more keys come back before going into a largely guitar oriented section which shows off Ruess’ vocal range beautifully. This song really encompasses every part of the fun. album all in 4 minutes, and as it continues you will realize more than just your auditory senses are being filled by the aural tones produced. The songs truly engulf every emotion inside you and fill you with nothing but joy.
Bringing many of the same aesthetics The Format used (whom remember: I disliked) and refining them, fun. brings indie-pop to the next level of intriguing. Within each song there are several amazingly created layers of musicianship all fronted by Ruess’ catchy melodies. You can’t deny the obvious Queen (or perhaps Beach Boys) vocal harmonies invested into songs like “Benson Hedges” and “All The Pretty Girls” or that they are influenced by their hired hand keyboardist, Robert Manning Jr., from the early 90’s power pop act, Jellyfish.
With such wonderful backing musically throughout the album, one cannot but wonder where the lyrics of this record stand. Ruess tells tales of love and loss and how he came to the place he is now: a very happy happy place (which I could not be more pleased about). He focuses quite a bit on his troubled past, but always has a positive vibe on it all to show you that what has happened is nothing but the past and has led him to the happiness that currently fills him. While the major focus is love, each song takes a different perspective on each very different situation, to not make the major theme over bearing throughout.
I can never deny a positive band of their genuine nature and I never have anything less than respect for a band that takes life in a positive light, and fun. takes everything to the next level. Being officially released today, August 25th, this album is worth going out to your local record store and picking up, or at least checking out a few tracks.