Friday, September 15, 2006
The Format - Dog Problems
Two months ago I had never heard of the Format. Now I can’t live without them. The Format are two high school buddies – Nate Ruess and Sam Means – that have conjured up a latter day Pet Sounds, the record Lloyd Dobler would have made had he taken up guitar instead of kick boxing. In what appears to be a song cycle about one volatile relationship (is there any other kind?), the Format throw everything in the mix to create the album to beat this year. Soaring harmonies, handclaps, orchestral arrangements, melodies seemingly plucked from show tunes and the astonishing clarity of Nate Ruess’ choirboy tenor all come together to produce a blue spark of a record.
How can I convince you to buy this record? It’s got the quirks and sophistication of XTC, the broken heart of classic Jackson Browne, the giddiness of early 70’s AM radio and the timeless quality found in your favorite records. I got these guys as complete nerd perfectionists obsessed with not only Beach Boys/Beatles popadelia but Brill Building craftsmanship and the timeless melodies of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Cole Porter and the Gershwins. I'm hearing all that in 3 to 4 minute pop songs. And how long does someone have to be around before you can start calling him one of rock’s best singers?
I think my infatuation with these guys (and right now we are doing some serious necking) is that no influence is too grandiose or too dated to be messed with. Usually this type of kitchen sink production comes off fey and precious. These guys make it seem effortless... which is what the great ones do, don't they?
Buy this record. Today.
You can thank me tomorrow.