Local Wire

Fat Tree: The Great Give & Take

Title: The Great Give & Take

Basics: Originally from Alamogordo, New Mexico, Gilbert's Fat Tree are billed as a rock/funk/jam band. Nowhere in there, however, is the descriptor "painfully white," because that's what I can't help but hear when I listen to this album -- a bunch of white dudes trying to play what they call "funk." Furthering this notion, the band has this offer about themselves: 

Every once in a while, a band comes along that restores your faith in the future of popular music. That band needs to get you to bob your head, shake your hips, and close your eyes and take you to that escape from the stresses of your day. Fat Tree is such a band. 

Kidding or not, that is just not funny or quirky or whatever. Nor is it true.

Best Song: "Get Here Soon" tries to be neither funky nor jammy -- it's a toned down, mellow affair that has perfect placing on the album. Usually a band will put their slowed down, heartfelt ballad as the second or third song on the album, putting the brakes on whatever momentum they had. I have to tip my cap to Fat Tree for putting "Get Here Soon" as the sixth song on the album. It fits in perfectly with the album's momentum, as well as displaying lead singer Kyle Jacobs' vocals at their best. Sure, Fat Tree is plenty funky and whatnot when they want to be, but it's when they decide to take things down a notch that their true talent shines through.

Worst Song: If "Get Here Soon" features the best of Kyle Jacobs' vocals, then "Just Us" unfortunately features them at their worst. There is a point at about two minutes into the song where he tries to hit a high note and falls flat on his face. It's as cringeworthy to write about as it is to listen to. The song is pretty forgettable otherwise -- there are elements of the funk that Fat Tree holds so dearly, but the song just meanders through a half-awake state of whatever, coming across more as filler than an actual, solid track on the album.

Suggestions: Whoever chose the font for the album artwork should not be in charge of making similar decisions in the future. The album art is the first thing people see when they get your album -- choose something that looks more professional over something that looks like it was forged in KidPix. You can also tone down that ridiculous band bio on your Facebook and ReverbNation pages -- you're not the future of "popular music," nor are you restoring anyone's faith in it.

Grade: C-

If you're a musician from the Phoenix metro area and would like to have your music reviewed in You Asked For It (our first-come, first-served and often harsh record review column) please send it in an envelope marked "YAFI" to:

Michael Lopez
You Asked For It
c/o Phoenix New Times
1201 E. Jefferson Street Phoenix, AZ 85034

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Michael Lopez