By Jack Daniel Betz

I bet some people my age (22) remember a little band called The Format. In the 2000s, The Format played standard, radio-friendly, emo fare, not sentimental enough to be as embarrassing as most commercially successful emo acts but not that much better. Either way, not my cup of tea. Fun. (which I will for the rest of this review refer to without the period) takes the naive emo charm of Nate Ruess’ vocals and strips them away from the crapola soft-rock accompaniment of The Format. In its place, the new band provides intricate baroque-pop melodies, lush synths and strings.

It’s still not “cool”, don’t get me wrong, but the album is enough to qualify for a guilty little pleasure. Ruess has dropped some of his unfortunate emo tropes (he has become a little less nasally) and reinvented himself in role that resists type-casting. It even sounds kind of grown-up at times, like the triumphant “One Foot” which for some reason reminds of Paul Simon’s Graceland era (there’s a comment section below if you want to tell me I’m nuts, I won’t cry, I promise). Other songs to look out for are “We are Young” and the surprisingly beautiful, six-minute, “Stars”.

Ruess will probably always sound pretty effeminate when he sings, which will always hold him back in my book, but I have to hand it to him for producing something I don’t completely hate. I wasn’t expecting that. I hope that sounds more like a compliment than I think it probably will. Really, I’m serious.
They’ll be at Warehouse Live on the 20th. If I do go I’ll be wearing a paper bag over my head but most likely I’ll just continue to enjoy them with my headphones ON in the privacy of my apartment.