Synth Pop Classicism: The Founding Fathers at the Melody Inn

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The Founding Fathers Excite at the Melody Inn

Too be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to like the Founding Fathers. For one thing, I’m not generally big on synth-pop. Furthermore, while I’m hardly opposed to electronic instrumentation, I think that few performers use it its full potential. Bearing all that in mind, I’m pleased to report that the Founding Fathers met, and exceeded, my expectations.

A Brief History

Oh, right. Context. The Founding Fathers come form Cincinnati and have been developing their 80s synth-smothered sound for the last few years. Mostly by playing the bars of Norwood and Riverside. Of course, they’re on their way to bigger and better things now that the fermentation phase of their development is over. Having released their sophomore LP Mating Rites earlier this year, the Founding Fathers are currently touring to promote that release. Which brings us to now.
Okay, enough with the info-dump.

The Hardeez

Now, before we get to the meat of the review, I feel I ought to mention one of the bands that FF shared the bill with. That band, The Hardeez, amazed me with their ability to play songs in multiple genres while staying true to their distinctive sound. Blues rock? Can do. Punk? Hardcore or old-school? Funk? Let me lay it on you. That’s what we call flexibility, brothers and sisters. Moreover, that’s just what I heard. I actually arrived near the end of their set and didn’t get to hear all of what they had on offer.

The Founding Fathers

I think the Founding Fathers really won me over when the began one of their songs with a sampled quote. Normally, I wouldn’t notice since sampled quotes are a dime-a-dozen in music these days. However, the film they chose to sample was David Cronenberg’s Videodrome. Now, If you think that’s a wonky standard to judge music by, you’re absolutely right. But, hear me out.

Quoting a somewhat obscure film like Videodrome indicates a level of pop culture awareness and dedication to craft that begs acknowledgement. Now, was this dedication reflected in their music? You bet your sweet bippy it was. Oh, and their matching blue coveralls were a nice touch as well.

The Founding Fathers have a very pure, 80s synth-pop sound. You know, extravagant synth arpeggios, a furious pace, the whole bit. But, unlike many of their predecessors, they actually understand what to do with them. Instead of just a few impressive keyboard runs, the Founding Fathers focus on actually writing melodies worth listening to. Of course, there’s an element of spectacle here, but they have the substance to back it up.

Also of note, while many more traditional synth-pop bands were apt to use harsher sound, the Founding Fathers don’t. Instead, they tend to use warmer tones that still infuse their songs with the required energy. Likewise, they are not at all averse to using more traditional instruments. The overall effect is a lot like visiting the pop art wing of your local museum. You know where all the stuff they used in their work came from, but you still find yourself amazed at the use they put it to.

Keep listening, everybody.

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