fun. Aim and Ignite
  full reviewuser ratings (253) 
Tracklist:
1. Be Calm
2. Benson Hedges
3. All the Pretty Girls
4. I Wanna Be the One
5. At Least I'm Not As Sad (As I Used to Be)
6. Light a Roman Candle With Me
7. Walking the Dog
8. Barlights
9 The Gambler
10. Take Your Time (Coming Home)

Ranking: #26 for 2009

user rating
4
excellent
Chart.
other reviews
Adam Knott CONTRIBUTOR (5)
On its first listen Aim And Ignite is pretty much the definition of fun; as it sinks in it reveals i...
Jonathan Langer (3)
Certainly a "fun" listen, worthy of its namesake....

recommended by reviewer
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  On 149 Lists

3.5
great
Dave de Sylvia STAFF (188 Reviews)

2009-08-18 | 472 comments | 9,838 views

Summary: Aim and Ignite is a a superbly mixed and arranged pop album.

While tears were shed and rumours milled over the Format’s sudden split last year, frontman Nate Ruess quietly went about his business. He assembled an entirely new project with ex-Anatholla member Andrew Dost and Steel Train frontman Jack Antonoff. They called themselves fun., though anybody with the misfortune of writing about them on a word processor can attest to just how miserable an experience it is. The shuffling of the frontline doesn’t tell the whole story, however: behind the scenes, there’s a great deal of continuity between 2006’s surprise hit Dog Problems and fun.’s debut LP, Aim and Ignite. Producer Steven McDonald, himself a veteran of ‘90s power pop outfit Redd Kross, returns to produce, but what’s most notable is that Ruess has retained the services of keyboardist Roger Manning, Jr., former member of criminally underappreciated retro pop trio Jellyfish.

Manning was a bit-part contributor to Dog Problems, but here his influence is everywhere. The Format were heavily invested in the more ornate pop stylings of the late ‘60s and ‘70s, but despite that they possessed all the trappings of an indie rock band. fun., by contrast, are a straightforward backward-looking pop act, just like Jellyfish. I wouldn’t be so crass as to suggest that Manning is the reason Aim and Ignite sounds the way it does; in fact, it’s far more likely that he was drafted to help the band realise their own grandiose aspirations. Nevertheless, the similarities are at times striking, and one could be forgiven for thinking Jellyfish are fun.’s earliest influence. There’s the obvious Queen-like vocal harmonies of ‘Benson Hedges’ and ‘All The Pretty Girls’; the baroque harpsichord of ‘I Wanna Be The One’ and the kitchen-sink arrangement of opener ‘Be Calm,’ but they often feel like influences that have been inherited rather than absorbed at the source.

Fortunately, repeated listens reveal much more to Aim and Ignite’s armoury. Opener ‘Be Calm’ is a classic case as “do as I say, not as I do”: beginning with a twee pump organ-and-violin intro, the song becomes an urgent and spell-binding duet between Ruess and ex-that dog. singer Anna Waronker, encapsulating far too many instruments to name and numerous complementary and contrasting melodies. ‘Benson Hedges’ kicks off with close vocal harmonies reminiscent of Queen’s ‘Fat-Bottomed Girls,’ but the melody itself has an unmistakeable southern gospel element (in contrast to the otherwise fairly dreary verse), while the showtune aesthetic of ‘Light A Roman Candle With Me’ is a disarming in a pleasant way. ‘The Gambler’ sits somewhere between ‘Piano Man’ and the Cheers theme, evoking the over-the-top romanticism of a West End musical with the line ”I swear when I grow up, I won’t just buy you a rose, I will buy the flower shop and you will never be lonely.”

Aim and Ignite isn’t the most consistent pop album around, and it obviously doesn’t suffer from an excessive compliment of originality, but it’s a superbly mixed and arranged album made by musicians who clearly understand the limits and potential of pop music. It would be trite to conclude that fun.’s potential is limitless, but Aim and Ignite is a very exciting launch-pad.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Contributing Reviewer


Comments: 3824
08.18.09

Album Rating: 5 | Sound Off

lol alright then

though anybody with the misfortune of writing about them on a word processor can attest to just how miserable an experience it is

i agree with this part at leastttt

Digging: The National - Alligator

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer


Comments: 6162
08.18.09

Album Rating: 4 | Sound Off

"They called themselves fun., though anybody with the misfortune of writing about them on a word processor can attest to just how miserable an experience it is."

Great line Dave. Very good review also. It provides some nice balance to Adam's.

Digging: Florence and the Machine - Lungs

joshuatree
Staff Reviewer


Comments: 2657
08.18.09

Album Rating: 3.5

dis review's the right one

Digging: The Flaming Lips - Embryonic

StrizzMatik


Comments: 1411
08.18.09

Album Rating: 4

Album is great, very Queen-ish

Digging: Gospel - The Moon is A Dead World

IsItLuck?
Staff Reviewer


Comments: 4177
08.18.09

Album Rating: 3.5

yes Strizz, exactly

Digging: A Place to Bury Strangers - Exploding Head

AtavanHalen


Comments: 8915
08.18.09

Album Rating: 3.5

The Red Paintings? Really?
Also, I heard The Beach Boys influence in the harmonies long before I heard Queen.

Digging: Ponytail - Ice Cream Spiritual

StreetlightRock
Staff Reviewer


Comments: 2387
08.18.09

Album Rating: 3.5

funny, i thought of panic at the disco

Digging: Liars - Sisterworld

AtavanHalen


Comments: 8915
08.18.09

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh har har har

StreetlightRock
Staff Reviewer


Comments: 2387
08.18.09

Album Rating: 3.5

im serious

Lucidity


Comments: 1384
08.18.09

Album Rating: 5

not seeing the PATD influence

Digging: Orphaned Land - The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR

klap4music
Contributing Reviewer


Comments: 1675
08.18.09

Album Rating: 3.5

love you for the jellyfish comparison

Digging: Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood

Electric City
Staff Reviewer


Comments: 10090
08.18.09

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

yessuh, nicely done as always

Digging: Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki - Symphony No. 3

Plinkertons


Comments: 127
08.18.09

Album Rating: 5

Your review doesn't seem to match the rating...

Digging: The Antlers - Hospice

Electric City
Staff Reviewer


Comments: 10090
08.18.09

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Aim and Ignite isn’t the most consistent pop album around, and it obviously doesn’t suffer from an excessive compliment of originality


or, "why this actually isn't the best thing ever but still enjoyable"

Dave de Sylvia
Moderator


Comments: 6892
08.18.09

Album Rating: 3.5

Also, I heard The Beach Boys influence in the harmonies long before I heard Queen.

I'm sure they are influenced by the Beach Boys but it's not particularly prominent. Queen's signature vocal harmony style involves very close intervals and heavy overdubs, whereas the Beach Boys' harmonies were basically acoustic and could be done with a live band. fun.'s are definitely the former.

Digging: Natasha Bedingfield - Pocketful of Sunshine

killrobotmusic


Comments: 285
08.18.09

Album Rating: 4

The only track I have heard so far is At Least I'm Not As Sad... and it is pretty rad. But yeah, the Queen influence (at least in this track) is real hard to miss.

Digging: Grizzly Bear - Yellow House

essplode


Comments: 92
08.18.09


This review is very right.

killrobotmusic


Comments: 285
08.18.09

Album Rating: 4

I also must say I am pretty glad to see Jack Antonoff finally in a project that is getting some recognition. He was quietly remarkable in Steel Train, but this really shows his musical maturity.

Knott-
Contributing Reviewer


Comments: 3824
08.18.09

Album Rating: 5 | Sound Off

makes me sad that people will read this and think, "ah 3.5 i won't bother then."

essplode


Comments: 92
08.18.09


Haha, uh? A great rating for a "superbly mixed and arranged pop album." You seem to be taking this reserved rating with an unusual amount of huff.



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