AWESOME CAR FUNMAKER – Of Lovers and Monsters
(2006 Cancer Records)
“I’ve got a fever in my ear / I try to deafen with the beer / I get off on the rock, I get off / ooo yea.” And so begins the new opus from the power-pop purveyors of rock ‘n’ roll goodness that are Awesome Car Funmaker. With seventeen songs, you’d think that the pace would just have to slow down, the energy would have to dip, the grooves would have to just stop being so damn infectious. You’d be wrong. This band revels in rocking out, in stabbing at their songs with wit and humor, in flailing at their hooks with an utter abandon and freakish devotion to having altogether too much fun to be legal, moral or sober.
From the opening onslaught of “Fever,” with fantastic piano hits offsetting the raging riffs, the stage is set for ACF to pour their brand of high-octane rock straight down your gullet. “Juice” takes it up a notch, with tasty drum fills, frantic vocals and an unreal power. As the third tune, “You Are the Best,” opens with its hooky riff, it becomes very clear that this is an album full of strong tunes performed with intensity, falsetto-laden bravado, a true understanding of what will make an audience go insane, and an instrumental approach that puts the whole above any given part. To go through the strengths of each individual song would take far more space than I have in this humble rag so I won’t even bother.
Ryan Corcoran’s vocals are a defining element of this band, with his performance calling to mind some of the very best rock ‘n’ roll singers, from David Lee Roth to Geddy Lee to Axl Rose, all while writing better lyrics and having more fun. Brendan McCarty’s keyboard work, moving from classic electric organ to synthy stabs to tinkling pianos, is impressive. Not only does he manage to move from sound to sound and riff to riff with dexterity and talent, his choice of tones and his tasty lead lines quickly becomes a huge part of what makes this band so unique and audacious. Bassist Justin Taylor and drummer Andy Iordacgescu form an incredible tight rhythm section that consistently adds slick flourishes and flair without ever sacrificing the drive that keeps this band moving from poppy progressions to metallic power and back again.
Beau Sorensen, one of this town’s rising engineering stars and a major asset to the stable of talent at Smart Studios, recorded this hugely dynamic band with the touch of an artist. The drums pop, the vocals are balanced, the keys flutter in and out of focus with the grooves, and the bass slams and slinks around each tune. The effects are subtle and solid, adding to this band’s already massive sound without ever once getting in the way. The focus always feels just right and the sound field is always full and frenetic.
With Of Lovers and Monsters, ACF are just shoving tunes like “Gun,” “Party Patrol” and “Heart On” right down your throat, reveling in the unabashedly fantastic time they are having watching their audience suck on their rock. It may seem silly to heap praises on one of the most celebrated bands in this town. I almost wish I could rip on them for having too much fun, for rocking too hard, for being too good. But I won’t. This is a fantastically recorded, outrageously performed, fully realized collection of some of the best damn rock ‘n’ roll around. Sugar.