If buying albums was a drug habit, I’d be an addict. Hang with me here, you see, once I’ve listened to an album and a “high” has been achieved, I move on to another band/album/genre looking for a similar, nay, greater rush of emotion and enlightenment. Thus far, 2009 has had a pretty low occurrence of highs. So, it was a welcome and pleasant surprise to happen upon the debut from fun., Aim and Ignite. For the uninitiated, fun. is the new project from Nate Ruess, formerly of The Format, a painfully underrated emopop act that transformed itself into an eclectic pop band on their second, and final release, Dog Problems.
As with any lead singer that departs from one band and forms another, it’s hard not to draw comparisons with their previous efforts. So, I’ll just put it out there up front, Aim and Ignite sounds a lot like Dog Problems…only 10 times better. As a whole, the album feels like a weekend with good friends in a trendy, bohemian neighborhood, a vibe Ruess and Co. only accentuate with lyrics like “Cigarettes are raining hard on the Upper East Side/she brings me a cake/we celebrate/I have arrived” on the plaintive “I Wanna Be the One.”
Yes, calling your band fun. with a lowercase f and a period at the end is confusing and silly, but fun, without a period, is actually a great way to describe Aim and Ignite. As a general rule, I’d be annoyed wiht a song like “Be Calm” which feels schizophrenic at first, but somehow they make the strings and horns come together to create something really quite unique. “All the Pretty Girls” and “Walking the Dog” are literally the catchiest things I’ve heard all year and “At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)” is sing-a-long ode to past indiscretions that doesn’t sound nearly as heavy the lyrics actually are.
Aim and Ignite is a great album to usher in fall. Is this a timeless release? Probably not. Is it one of my favorite releases this year? Absolutely.