Release Date 07/06/2010 (Hassle Records)
By Chris Gilliver
The hardest thing to do as a music reviewer is to be objective. If enjoying music isn’t a personal and subjective experience then what exactly is it? We love the music we do, because it feels like the music speaks to us directly, to our hopes, fears and successes, moving us to extremes of emotion. So when you encounter a band that you don’t particular like, but who are clearly of real quality the hardest thing to do is to put the knife away, re-pin the verbal grenades, remove yourself from the equation and hear it as others might.
I don’t particularly like Fun. There’s something theatrical about them. Aim & Ignite sounds like it could quite easily be performed onstage as a musical. I hate musicals. Nothing powerfully cinematic can be expressed through people dancing, prancing and singing simultaneously. They also sound like the later, popular Queen – a band I respect but again have never particularly liked – with Mika at the helm. A man whose music makes me want to pour concrete into my ears so I can never hear again
And yet there’s absolutely no doubting the standard of talent on “Aim & Ignite”, both in terms of song-writing and musicianship, which is unremittingly very high. The instrumentation is brilliant. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a guitar solo like the Brian May-esque one on “All the Pretty Girls”. The album skips around like a frightened rabbit on amphetamines. Each track is a microcosm stuffed full of varied, constantly evolving segments that keep you guessing, interested and entertained. If there’s one thing this band isn’t lacking, it’s ideas.
Though there are melancholic strands running through the album, superficially they’re incredibly upbeat. Fun is incredibly fun. It would be like renaming Leonard Cohen “The Sad Man”. Though immediately this is annoying, especially to a miserablist like myself, it works in their favour. It’s hard not to smile when “Be Calm” skits off happily from a melancholy amble, or when “Walking The Dog” bounces off with its Vampire Weekend inspired riff. Also, they’re an incredibly engaging live act – one of the best around.
I have to say that this album’s growing on me a lot – though I still have my reservations. And whether I end up loving or loathing it everyone should give “Aim & Ignite” a listen, because Fun are making music head and shoulders above most of their contemporaries. Allow Fun to usher in the fun and they could be your new favourite band.