I’ll admit that I wasn’t real sure about these guys the first time I caught ’em. The two “Sons,” Stefan Mach and Jordan Brady, climbed onstage to stand in front of a modest bank of keyboards and samplers, then dove headlong into a primary-colored, synth-heavy, freakishly earnest, sugary-sweet pop explosion. What the hell? Wasn’t one of these guys in mathcore titans By the End of Tonight?
Honestly, it was the seeming earnestness that threw me for a loop at first — was this some big, elaborate joke, a hipster-ironic jab at electro-pop bands? Or were these actually guys serious, with their cheery, shiny, melodic-as-hell songs about girls and friends and partying? And weirdly, after listening to their full-length, Digital Nozzle (which is available for download on the duo’s BandCamp site), I think the Sons actually are. At least, they’re as serious as they need to be.
And really, I think it works for ’em. On tracks like “I Saw Her Yesterday,” “Impossible Odds,” and “June 2nd, 2007,” the Sons’ over-the-top, hyper-catchy, unselfconscious (and often ridiculously personal) songwriting comes off as endearing, quirky and heartfelt, with an underlying message, it seems, about being yourself and having fun, no matter what the hell’s going on. Which explains somewhat the slaphappy grins on the faces of the Sons’ devoted friends/fans as they bounce around the stage — it’s all about fun, in the end, so who cares whether or not these guys are kidding?
It helps, naturally, that the slightly-fuzzed electro-pop the Sons make is jaw-droppingly spot-on; at their best, they come off like an amped-up, all-male Mates of State, if Atom and His Package took over the mic. Rentals-esque synths thunder and explode, Brady and Mach’s voices meld in an unaffected, boyish harmony, and the canned (but not stale) beats propel things forward at a half-breakneck pace, and by the end of Digital Nozzle, I’m fully hooked.
The duo’s reportedly been working on a followup, which Mach says (on the band’s Myspace) will be more of a true collaboration than Nozzle was — the album was apparently mostly written by Mach — but they’ve warned that it could take a while, since Mach now lives in Austin while Brady lives down here in Houston. Keep an eye out…
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