Local Wire

The Father Figures: Lesson Number One

Title: Lesson Number One

Basics: The Father Figures are appropriately named -- I don't know the exact ages of member Tom Reardon, Michael Cornelius and Bobby Lerma, but this photo I saw upon opening the CD case let me know roughly just how old they might be. Usually I cringe at the thought of older, white men sending in YAFI submissions, but these three have been around the block and, thankfully, know what the hell they are doing. No where is that more evident than their energetic, polished punk/rock music.

Best Song: This is actually pretty difficult. Throughout the album's 13 tracks, there is no real break in momentum or tempo until the titular 12th song "Lesson Number One" -- yet even that song is still pretty loud. That being said, the album has a tremendous tempo one could expect from the ex-members of such bands like The North Side Kings, The Voice, Hillbilly Devilspeak and (my favorite) Pinky Tuscadero's White Knuckle AssFuck. 

"Caviar" is a brilliant album opener, yet I find "She Does Gymnastics" to be the most unique sounding song on the album. The opening guitar riff is more grunge/shoegaze than punk, and the song is entirely instrumental. That can go a long way on an uptempo, punk-driven album where the songs start to, unfrotunately, sound the same after about 7 or 8 songs.

A Quick Lament: There is no real "worst song" on the album -- an honor which I bestow upon the usually lamely mellow, downtempo song that ruins an album's momentum and is bafflingly placed as the third or fourth track. I will say that The Father Figures' lead singer Tom Reardon does suffer from having his vocals sound painfully the same over the album's different punk/indie rock songs. This is usually something too grating to ignore for certain bands, yet The Father Figures' polish is such that it is rather easy to ignore the redundant vocals. The music is that compelling and frenetic that all doubts and misgivings are erased.

Suggestions: If the guys in the band haven't seen this skit -- "Band Reunion at the Wedding" -- from a 2010 episode of Saturday Night Live, then they need to asap. It is a perfect homage to the guys in late 70s/early 80s punk bands who are now fathers themselves. 

Other than that, there's not much I can suggest to guys who have been playing in bands for as long as The Father Figures. If Lesson Number One wasn't nearly as good as it actually is, then I would be very concerned for the band.

Grade: A-

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