FM Statics rock n roll credo remains decidedly simpleno pressure, just fun. Unabashed, summertime, walk-in-the-park, roll-down-your-windows-on-a-road trip kinda fun. No worries. No posing. No pretense. No problem.
One might wonder if the Toronto-based bands collective attitude changed after its 2003 debut, What Are You Waiting For (Tooth & Nail) moved a surprising 60,000 unitsa staggering figure for a side projectbut leader, vocalist, and lyricist Trevor McNevan is resolute.
There are no clichés with FM Static, he states plainly. We write music we think is fun. We just want it to be natural, and with no added pressures of trying to sound like this or that going on around us.
Buoyed by that refreshing attitude and the teeming mass of fans the fellas found over the last two years, FM Static returns triumphantly with Critically Ashamed, an infectious sophomore assembly of 11 original pop-rock tracks thatalong with being more than ready for airplaycrackle with lyrics that are at-once filled with good-natured humor, keenly observant sarcasm, and even at times with reflective empathy.
The best way to describe Critically Ashamed is that we want it to be peoples summer record, McNevan says without a hint of irony. You know those records in your collection that you associate with vacation from school? The ones you play when youre thinking about warm weather and some good old fashioned summer fun? For me it was the Steve Miller Band, and the Weezer Blue albumeach song has a face. You listen to the music and it takes you back, you remember what you were doing and who you spent time with. Well, we want people to associate this record with the best summer of their lives.
The sound of FM Statics newest offering is a far cry from the sonics generated by the band that McNevan and drummer Steve Augustine spend most of their time with. (Shhh! Its Thousand Foot Krutchdont tell!) And thats a big part of FM Statics appeal, McNevan notes.
Steve and I knew FM Static was a side project, he explains. But we dont treat it with any less interestits just that were usually kept so busy touring and record with TFK that we dont get to spend as much time with it.
You wouldnt guess by the quality and maturity of the Critically Ashamed trackswhich, not incidentally, were self-produced by McNevan and Augustine in a small studio where they worked with friends to round out the music.
The infectious Flop Culture is a sneering-with-a-smile observation on the often ridiculous machinations of celebrity lives and attitudes. And even more moving than the hook-filled verses and choruses is McNevens ear-bending lyrics: Remember Axl telling us to have patience / and records sold without any affiliation / when William Hung and music still had no relation / someone tell Janet, bring back the rhythm nation / no gloves, no zipper coats / no more yellow submarines or kokomos / if we could ask Luther Vandross, I bet hed wonder the same
McNevan & Co. dont let up. The Next Big Thinga swirling rocker akin to a punked-out Third Eye Blindtackles the emptiness of stardom that can so easily ensnare the most well-meaning Christian bands: Theres no way of knowin just where you are goin/ theyll take you for every last second and moment / Im so pleased to meet you, is how they will greet you / while theyre lookin over your shoulder / Ive seen all the faces, been millions of places / its taken a lot not to lose all my patience / for every good thing comes, a whole lot of heartache / Ive tried hard to learn from all of my mistakes
For McNevan, its a fun sounding song with a huge warning. Its a topic I wanted to write about, he notes. When you get signed, and your first record comes out, theres always buzz about your bandand with that comes the media, the way they talk to you. Its a funny thing: To be good you almost have to convince yourself that youre the best thing out there, and new artists buy into that. Its unfortunate.
Along with provocative barnburners such as Americas Next Freak and tender acoustic ballads such as Tonight and Moment of Truth (the tune McNevan used to propose to his wife), FM Static is proving once again proving that their fun, no-pressure approach is the best for them.
We feel blessed to be doing this, McNevan concludes about his Critically Ashamed experience. This record is exactly what we wanted our sophomore record to be nothing but fun for us.