fun.: Point and Light

fun.: Point and Light- So, what’s a band to do once they’ve become a fixture in the pop music scene?  What does a band do once they win awards, such as a Grammy?  After traveling around the world on a successful tour, being consistently recognized by fans out in the general public, what is the next step a band is supposed to take?  How is a band supposed to keep moving forward, successfully making music and creating something new?  Well, for fun., the best thing to do is take a step back and visit your band’s roots.

On their new EP, Point and Light, fun. decided to have a little throwback to five of their earliest tunes.  The songs on this EP already appeared on their debut album, Aim and Ignite.  But these aren’t the polished studio versions with all the sheen and glossy coatings.  Point and Light is stripped down and allows listeners to appreciate the musical chops of the band.  The album has the feeling of being recorded in a small beer hall or loft party with a group of friends.  It is a rambunctious and raw set of songs that highlights the quirks and talents of a band that is best known for alt/pop-rock songs with slick productions.  But there is no slick production here.  In fact, it sounds like live recordings: live instrumentation, no auto-tune and at times the balance of vocals and instruments can be off.  But that’s what makes this EP more enjoyable; it feels like you’re hanging out with the band in an intimate setting, singing along with them.

With Point and Light, it is easy to hear what bands influenced and shaped fun. in their early years.  Although the three lads have previously been in established bands, I am talking about influences from bands they probably listened to growing up.  It is easier to determine this now than on their more produced works because this album has no electronic noises or beat making machines, it is all live instrumentation.  The primary instruments are piano, drums and acoustic guitar; then comes the flares of electric guitar, trumpets, maybe an accordion, some kazoos, and other odds and ends in place of flourishes that would otherwise be made with electronics.

The harmonies and vocals on the record have a Beatles-esque quality at times with songs like the piano ballad, ‘Light A Roman Candle With Me’.  Then there are songs like, ‘Benson Hedges’.  It is all 70′s piano rock with likely influences from the likes of Sir Elton John.  And there is the opening track, ‘At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)’.  This song is all quirky, indie pop, complete with raucous instrumentation and layered vocals as if the whole bar is joining in on the song.  But what also is notable about this song, are the lyrics.  The lead singer, Nate Ruess, is having a back and forth conversation with old friends about how he’s been over the years, giving the impression he’s had success and left some people behind and how his life is compared to, “back then”.

And that’s why, even though these songs on Point and Light are from 2009, there is a sense that these could have been written and recorded while back from a recent worldwide tour, trying to get in touch with their previous selves.  This sort of nostalgia is needed for bands put in the lime light.  Because although they are best known and loved for their high production quality, award-winning pop songs, these tracks keep fun. grounded to why they made music to begin with…  9/10

‘Benson Hedges’



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