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|2. I'm Actual|
|3. Time Bomb|
|4. She Doesn't Get It|
|5. Pick Me Up|
|6. Dog Problems|
|8. Dead End|
|10. The Compromise|
|11. Inches And Falling|
|12. If Work Permits|
You'll get no apologies from The Format when it comes to dissecting their brand of rousing, straight ahead pop music. Sam Means and Nate Ruess, the bright, prolific duo who make up the new Elektra group, both barely scraping their early 20's, have crafted a sparkling, spirited 12 song hook-laden epic that defies you not to hum along. The debut is a cocktail of diverse flavors, with emphasis on the singer/songwriting nucleus that mixes a knack for Beatlesque melodies with `80's styled layerings, including big fat drum machines, idyllic synths and maybe even a handclap or two.
Every great power pop band is all about two things: meaty melodies and oo-la-la choruses, and there's no disbelieving that this Phoenix band have the formula nailed on their sophomore album. Produced by a master of the genre (Steve McDonald, founding member of Redd Kross), the 12-tracker advances the Format's debut album by sandblasting pocketfuls of hooks and poetic prose into the consciousness. Band leaders Nate Ruess and Sam Means progress like a modern day Colin Blunstone/Rod Argent, zigzagging Zombies-like through a piano-led, choral-like pool of tuneful experimentation and falsetto intonation. The band make it almost too easy to pick out potential radio gems, which include up-tempo numbers like "Time Bomb" and "She Doesn't Get It," and especially "Oceans," with its glee club chorus that's downright impossible to shake. But Dog Problems must be heard as a whole to appreciate the dexterous brilliance of Means and Ruess, who apply a '20s dancehall vibe to the title track, turn the narcissistic "I'm Actual" into an Abbey Road waltz, and even flirt with country music in the discreet "Snails." Like the Zombies, the Raspberries, Dwight Twilley, or the Shins? This record may be for you. --Scott Holter
Top Customer Reviews
The Format felt some pressure from their label to duplicate their 2003 debut, INTERVENTIONS AND LULLABIES -- but when Nate Ruess and company decided to stick to their own vision, the label lost interest. What came of their trials is the 2006 follow-up DOG PROBLEMS (released on their own imprint label), a collection of catchy indie pop that, with its boisterous bevy of guitars, keyboards, and horns, sparkles with whimsy and humour. The tracks breathe with variety, spanning different moods and tempos -- often within the same song -- while employing quick, witty lyrics.
Listeners can easily enjoy these tracks for the melodies alone, but mining the lyrics reveals something else altogether. Catchy and jaunty these tunes may be, but superficial and vapid they are not. Multiple listens are a must, because grasping both the sheer cleverness and the wide scope within the lyrics can hardly be done at one go.
Wordplay and interesting metaphors are abound. The listener can be moved to laugh in one moment (from "She Doesn't Get It": 'I've read every word you've said/From the poster of a cat/Four books look across your sofa/I thought your coffee table/Was more clever than that') and take pause the next (from "If Work Permits": 'It's a shame what your father did to your brother's head/When he smashed it with a telephone/...You were only four/But lord, you remember it').Read more ›
First time listeners or fans of Interventions will probably find Oceans, The Compromise and Time Bomb the most accessible and best introductory songs. Keep listening though, and this one will grow on you. It's a brilliant album by a criminally unknown band.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you are, you'll be rewarded with an intricate, satisfying collection of songs that make a coherent whole, but are individually catchy as well. Nate hasn't lost any of his gift for writing the perfect lyric, as noted in an earlier review, and his voice is, if anything, more powerful than before.
The song arrangements take some getting used to. My first listen, I thought they were overproduced -- too many horns, too much harmony -- but on repeated listens, what seemed overly complicated was just agreeably complex. Nate's voice never gets lost in the shuffle, and the tune remains the driving force.
This is an album to listen to in its entirety, then listen again through good speakers, then again through headphones, then again and again. I'm still hearing surprises on my fifteenth or sixteenth go-round. From the Queen-influenced title track to the Mountain Goats-esque "If Work Permits," this is one CD you'll come back to over and over again.
Fast forward a couple of years, and they release two EPs (Snails and The Street Team EPs) and start releasing a lot of new material for our listening pleasure. This is one thing I love about this band. They aren't so secretive about their music and the recording process, on the other hand my favorite band of all time, Brand New is a completely different story. Been waiting on their new album for almost 3 years.
About a month and half or so back I get news that their new album has leaked. That same day they released a digital download of the whole album for 8 bucks or so. I bought it from them and its yet to get any rest in the car, on the computer or ipod. I'm in love with the new album. I just bought the hard copy today. Love the artwork.
On to the album. I usually listen to the album from top to bottom because their aren't really any filler tracks and each one has something new I discover with each listen. A few of my favorite tracks have to be "She Doesn't Get It" "Dog Problems" "Oceans" and "If Work Permits". You'll get lost in he ohhhh's, horns and laaaaas.
Some lyrics I really enjoy are
"why am i scared of people in a room?
why cant they see a good time are the people close to you?
why dont i just give in, have a drink and shake some hands?
why am i scarred from what she did to me?
why cant i trust the only one who's yet to believe?
why dont i just give in, have a drink and shake some hands?"
"boys in swooping haircuts are bringing me down,
taking pictures of themselves, oh.
boys in swooping haircuts you know who you are"
track- dog problems
"Suddenly between sheets and eyelids, I am reminded why I don't do this.
I fall in love far too quickly,
I never want her to forget me."
track- she doesn't get it
"sometimes, when sailors are sailing
they think twice, about where theyre anchoring
and i think, i could make better time of my time on land
ill drink less
cause lord knows i could use a warm kiss
instead of a cold goodbye"
track- if work permits
"Life is not a play, it's what we
Make of the people we love."
a must buy! great guys, amazing music.
"Although the band was inundated with major-label offers after their split with Atlantic, they decided to release under their own Vanity Label imprint, distributed by Sony/BMGa move that allowed them to make the album they wanted to make.
"It was great," says Ruess, describing the process of recording Dog Problems with producer Steve McDonald (Red Kross). "I'd go into the studio, make decisions and never have to hear things like, "I don't know if that has enough octane," he continues, laughing. "I feel like on the last record, we were pressured to make an album full of singles, and this time we could just do whatever we want." It's true; six of the songs on Dog Problems have full orchestration (three of which are arranged by Jellyfish mastermind Roger Manning), and while the band may not have felt pressured to write singles, well, nearly every song on the disc could be one."
this cd makes me happy, i also saw them in concert 7 days ago (best ever).
YOU JUST GOTTA LOVE THEM!!!