Family Force 5 | Business Up Front, Party In the Back-Diamond Edition (Gotee/Maverick)

cd_familyforce5.jpgIt all comes together on the back-to-back whammy of the club-ready anthems "Love Addict," whose hook is so dirty it could have only come from the Dirty South, and "Earthquake," with crunktastic keyboards, whipcrack drums, and even chanting cheerleaders to get the asses shaking.

 

 

 

Ask any discerning listener for the worst new musical developments in the last decade, and I’d bet that every list would have rap metal and crunk hovering somewhere near the top of the list. The three brothers and two friends in Family Force 5 promise a horrible-sounding cocktail mixing those two musical atrocities, and not only do they deliver on that promise but, perhaps shockingly, the results aren’t terrible.

Make no mistake, nothing on Business Up Front, Party In the Back is going to expand your mind or horizons: this is big, dumb party music pure and simple, but on that front it succeeds in a way that far too many rock bands have failed miserably. The lyrics are stupid, sure, but it’s that Licensed To Ill-era Beastie Boys brand of stupid more often than it is Limp Bizkit stupid, and lead singer/rapper Solomon "Soul Glow Activatur" Olds has skills both as an emcee and as a balls-out rock wailer (his "HEY!"s rival even Buckcherry’s Josh Todd). Instrumentally, there’s a lot going on here as well: the bleating crunk keyboards are a major part of the arsenal, but Family Force 5 seem to have learned just as much from the Red Hot Chili Peppers bass-driven funk and Trent Reznor’s dancier moments (there are Nine Inch Nails-esque whispered choruses everywhere). It all comes together on the back-to-back whammy of the club-ready anthems "Love Addict," whose hook is so dirty it could have only come from the Dirty South, and "Earthquake," with crunktastic keyboards, whipcrack drums, and even chanting cheerleaders to get the asses shaking.

The songs aren’t always gold, particularly when the rhymes get appallingly obvious (in "Supersonic," they even rhyme "hands in the air" with "just don’t care"…Bender would be proud). Also, any time someone other than Soul Glow Activatur steps up to the mic, the results are not pretty. Still, there’s a time and place for party music, and if you’re looking for something with a little rock flavor to mix in with your hip-hop, Family Force 5 would be a great way to go.

Originally released last year, this new "Diamond Edition" of Business Up Front adds three new songs. The first, "I Love You to Death," is heavy metal dance music, a sort of unholy union of White Zombie and Eagles of Death Metal, and may just be better than any of the songs on the main album, but the other two new tracks are more or less forgettable. C+ | Jason Green

RIYL: Zebrahead, Limp Bizkit, Hot Action Cop, Eagles of Death Metal

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