The Frights // You Are Going to Hate This
Recommended Track(s): Afraid of the Dark
You know that feeling when you meet someone for the first time, hang out with them, have a great time and hold onto that memory for a few days, months or years? The memory builds up and you can’t wait to see them again, until the next time you run into them and they have changed for the worst, become an asshole and successfully shattered that first impression.
The Frights’ second full length, You Are Going To Hate This, appropriately titled, is exactly like that. Gone are the days of simple, catchy guitar-based dance music laid out on the fantastic first self-titled album. For this sophomore effort, the band was introduced to something called production, and they OD’d – they OD’d hard.
Now, production is not a bad thing. Having a clean sound is NOT bad. (Although some purists may swear by the imperfections of lo-fi quality music). But when we get into shit like Warped Tour vocal echoes and sound effects you’d find at an arcade (yes it has the dings, bings, bloops and blops), that’s when eyes start to roll. I wouldn’t doubt that the album’s producer, FIDLAR vocalist/guitarist Zac Carper, had a say in this, knowing that Fidlar’s music has a maturity level of a drunk 15 year old.
Annoying production effects aside, there are some cute song structures and melodies. “Afraid of the Dark,” a softer song on the album, has great breakdowns and build ups focused on more simple, 1960s inspired backbeats. “All I Need” has a bouncy, doo-wop-esque feel with a quiet chorus as well as proper guitar and vocal explosions into each verse.
The songwriting is actually pretty great. It’s super fun and catchy, building off the work of the group’s debut album (which got 5 pies) and recent Tongues/Puppy Knuckles single. Speaking of which, both songs from that single appear on this record. And of course they are battered with over production. “Puppy Knuckles”, once a warm, doo-wop song, has become a weird electro track complete with KISS FM beats. The doo-wop vocals are still there, but the warmth and simplicity are missing in a muck of droned keys and electronic drum effects.
“Tongues,” named “Tungs” on the new record, has been stripped down with acoustic bass and minimal electric guitar yet it has kind of a weird resort theme park vibe to it. The beach sounds in the background and electric guitar strums on the offbeat give it an island sound in lieu of the 50s diner feel on the original single.
The Frights are good musicians, and the live show is just as fun. However, this record was made for a narrow audience of Aquadolls fans or Warped Tour-attending prepubescents who will promptly forget about the music in two months time. And even though the sound may be radio friendly, well more like Radio Disney friendly, it just seems like the wrong step for the band although it’s not necessarily a surprising move. Knowing they are huge Weezer fans and contemporary pop enthusiasts, it’s likely The Frights were looking for a more mainstream pop sound and obviously knew their existing fans would not be pleased, hence the album title, so perhaps they are seeking a new audience. A less mature audience for a less mature sound. How long that new audience will pay attention and how long this sound will last?
My prediction: Not long.