Far Rad – This Candy’s Gross (CD)

Using Nintendo-game backdrops (at least, thats what they sound like) as a background for their vocals, Far Rad immediately win my heart. The vocals on “Cellar” are reminiscent of the now-defunct Unicorns and an audible Steve Lieberman. Almost breaching the wall between rap and rock, “Beteleuse” has Spike Jonze, Frank Zappa, and Atom and His Package form a Voltron-like creature, gaining strength from the noisy chorus and linear-to-a fault stanza. The chugging nature of Far Rad’s track as well as the style of the vocals also scream Les Claypool; Les’ bass, however impressive it may be finds an analogue in the omnipresent synth-lines to be found during “This Candy’s Gross”. This instrumental virtuosity and ear for arrangements are shown by “Rave Mix ‘96”, which has more turns than a D&D cave; there is no possible way to get bored with this dreamy-pop. Far Rad’s approach to “This Candy’s Gross” is innovative; while there is definitely a current offered the disc, each track a different paean to one of Far Rad’s influences. For example, “Hard Boiled” simultaneously calls on the spirit of Bad Religion, early Talking heads, and Devo. The punk influence may seem a little off-kilter, but I contend that this connection is deliberate, as Far Rad covers a Queers track (Tulu is a Wimp) immediately after.

Far Rad is the smarter person’s Gnarkill. The same synth-driven, screamed-out vocals are present in both albums, and both have a pirate-esque track (“Alligator” for Far Rad, “Swab the Deck” for Gnarkill). “Movies are Fun” looks back to the eighties, specifically Peter Gabriel’s “The Choclate War” soundtrack, as Far Rad uses the synthesizer in an almost-theramin like duty. The multi-part harmony on “Movies are Fun”, while not technically too draining, still provides the entirety of “Candy’s” with a more full sound. In a sense, Far Rad is revolutionary with “This Candy’s Gross”; much like Sweet Pickle, there is a rap influence that comes out at times alongside a visible punk influence. Where Sweet Pickle create straight-rap tracks, where Far Rad most visibly shows their love of the genre comes in their delivery, which is a cross between speaking and singing, with an almost hip-hop flow. Far Rad’s album is ambition, and everything that the band tries to do on the track is a success, whether it be the instrumentals (Rave Mix ’96, Picture Picture) or the obvious plays for attention (the Queers cover).

Top Tracks: Movies are Fun, Hard Boiled

Rating: 8.0/10

Far Rad – This Candy’s Gross / 2005 Johann’s Face / 12 Tracks / http://www.farrad.com / farrad@gmail.com / Reviewed 18 February 2005

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