Originally published in Qmunicate Magazine, Feb 2015.
With the release of their sixth full-length, the band that encourages their fans to “stay weird” appears to be leading by example. AB/AP is darker than its predecessor and more confident in what it is – an unashamed pop record bringing self-awareness to the radio.
“Irresistible”, while packing less of a kick than previous openers, embodies the oddball swagger which is so characteristic of FOB at their best. The title track, a bizarre overflow of dance production and Motley Crüe sampling (think the “Hokey Cokey” for Cathouse regulars) is more effective in the context of the album. Meanwhile, standout “Fourth of July” is intense and emblematic of what makes the album great: interesting layering of sound and clever sampling. With this track being structured around a Son Lux sample, “Tom’s Diner” and even The Munsters theme appearing on the album, the experimentation is a favourable reminder of FOB’s hip hop sensibilities.
AB/AP’s primary shortcomings are “Centuries” and “Immortals”: essentially two shades of the same song. Uninspired and contrived, both feel like material tacked on to bump up the track count and contribute to a sense of the album having been rushed. Fortunately the other tracks are strong enough to counteract this; intricate and lyrically poignant but undoubtedly arena-ready.