Reviews Toys That Kill Fambly 42

Toys That Kill

Fambly 42

It may have been six years since Toys That Kill put out a full-length, but Fambly 42 sounds like it could have been released immediately after Shanked. The melodies are seamless and the precision between band members sounds like they haven’t missed a beat—maybe that’s because the band plays sporadic shows and the pieces of their line-up comprise a number of other San Pedro, CA bands that have released items on Recess Records in the meantime. Anyway, Fambly 42 is a rocker, and it totally lives up to the wait.

“Mobbed by the 3’s” is a quick reminder of what sets Toys That Kill apart from their related projects: the upbeat energy and singalong nature of the songs and the subtle changes therein that alter the progression without hindering the flow. Halfway through most the songs, the listener can already sing along to the refrain, but the songs still avoid feeling repetitive or samey, as singer Todd Congelliere mixes up his versus just enough to throw a wrench into the predictable cycles while the guitars typically throw a changeup as well. Sean Cole steps to the mic periodically, as in “Waltz in a Million.” The new voice doesn’t alter the tone of the record, but gives a little shake-up when things become familiar.

Favorites include “Who Scored?,” “Nervous Rocks,” and “Clap for Alaska.” “Abort Me Mother Earth” feels like it would fit in on 2001’s The Citizen Abortion, with a bit of a deconstructive edge that is immediately countered by its sunny follow-up “Stye,” in which Congelliere shows a bit of vocal range (well, for a punk band anyway). The tempos, while fitting broadly under the pop-punk umbrella, are varied and the rhythms go from the staccato “Ape Me” to forward-pushing poppy melodies as in “Who Scored?” and the anthemic touch of “Mobbed by the 3’s.”

In short, this record may have been years in the making, but it feels immediate and relevant—something that usually isn’t said about similarly delayed projects. The chemistry of the band and the distinct songwriting combines to make an early favorite for record of the year as well as prompts me to dig through the CD pile for the rest of their catalog.

8.9 / 10Loren
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Recess

2012

8.9 / 10

8.9 / 10

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