By: ~Jaz' It Won't Be The Fucking Old Days
Off of Flannel Gurl Records, Dad's debut LP "American Radass (This Is Important)" hits the heartstrings almost immediately like an oncoming freight train driven by angst-ridden, pubescent punks. Dads is a 2-piece emo/punk group from New Jersey with members John Bradley (vox, drums, bass) and Scott Scharinger (vox and guitar). They previously released two EPs entitled "Brush Your Teeth ;)" and "Brush Your Teeth, Again ;)"...If you are wondering, yes, the winking faces are part of the title. Onto the album!
Now Dad's musical style fits into an ever growing spectacle of punk rock known as "emo." Unfortunately this genre gets tossed around and desecrated all too often by the Hot Topic generation (I coined that) and genuinely great bands such as Dads, Algernon Cadwallader, or Cap'n Jazz get lumped in with pathetic, servile groups like Black Veil Brides, Pierce The Veil, etc. However, emo such as Dads or Algernon holds an ENTIRELY different position; song structure, lyrical themes, aesthetics, guitar tone and so forth. My small rant has now concluded!
The humorously titled opening track "If Your Song Title Has the Word 'Beach' in it, I'm Not Listening to It" begins with the pitter patter of John's drumming that slowly but surely gains momentum then comes together full force with Scott's lovely "noodly" guitar lines. For those who arn't all too familiar with emo, the vocals arn't what you would call conventionally pleasing. To some, they may even be jarring with how screeching, whiny, or raspy the vocalists may come off. Although, John's voice as opposed to more aggressive emo vocalists (i.e. Tim Kinsella of Cap'n Jazz') comes off quite pleasing. This song dynamic of the crescendo building momentum only to explode into a thunderous bridge or final verse is a detrimental trait of this album.
As I had mentioned previously, this album really tugs at the heartstrings with its lyrical themes such as heart break, lost affection, infidelity, nostalgia, etc. This however should be no surprise since the genre after all is "emo." John sings painful lines such as "We water the plants, even after they've died. Wasting all this time in the helpless notion" off of the previously mentioned opening track. Or, "People we loved hurt us. We make up excuses, to tell ourselves they had to" off of track 10 titled "Bakefest At Piffanys."
Overall, I find the biggest highlights of this particular album to be the level of musical partnership between John and Scott. John's pounding and ever-grooving drumming fits in perfectly with Scott's unique style of tapped, angular-like guitar riffs. Nor at one point throughout this album did I feel one instrument or member was being drowned out by another. I highly recommend this album to anyone who enjoys "twinkly" guitars, "real" lyrics, and an overall love for punk-based emo. Now pick up a copy from Flannel Gurl Records webstore, or Dads bandcamp! Support your favorite indie artists! DO IT!