March 16, 2010

Album Review: Flobots - Survival Story

The recent release of the Flobots sophomore album, Survival Story sneaked up on us pretty good. As a fan of the Flobots beats and production, I was fairly excited for the new release. Upon first listen, two things are supremely evident. First, the beats are still fantastic and still very different from the direction all other hip-hop groups seem to be headed. Second, the political overtones are still heavy throughout most of the songs on the album, and to a certain extent, I want my music to be free of all the rest of the crap going on.

The talk of global warming and corporate monopolies, it just seems like if this music hits home as a form of protest, the idea is that all of it will become irrelevant within the next few years.

Okay, off my high horse. As expected, Survival Story is heavy on distorted guitar and leans towards the hard rock side of music, kind of like Linkin Park. The key to the melodies in these songs remains the meshing of the viola and the vocals, which, once again is both interesting and seamless. I've always been impressed with the Flobots ability to turn what would normally be something you'd only hear coming out of a computer after editing is complete, and turn it into something that can be performed live.

The first single, "White Flag Warriors," features Tim McIlrath from Chicago based band Rise Against. Thought not quite as radio-friendly as some of the Linkin Park material, McIlrath serves as a Chester Bennington to Jonny 5 and Brer Rabbit's rap. The drums/guitars are also quite reminiscent of Rise Against, which almost has me convinced that this could become a legitimate hit.

The other songs that deserve individual recognition include "Whip$ and Chain$," which has a chorus seemingly straight out of an Eminem song, "Good Soldier," a slowed down song which is a departure from the normal Flobots sound, and backing vocals from Mackenzie Roberts on the chorus, and "Defend Atlantis," which if there's a song on this album that makes you think of "Handlebars," is it.

I wasn't a fan of "Infatuation" which featured fellow Denver musician Matt Morris. It was almost like the sung chorus was forced into the song and didn't belong quite like it did in "White Flag Warriors."

In the spirit of the Flobots, listen and make up your own mind, don't let me make it up for you.


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