@ 11:03 pm
“Post-hardcore has been the bastard child of misinterpretation and over-stimulated music journalism since before Alternative Press and fan e-zines gave our generation a big head. Thinking we were a part of some mind blowing movement, kids thought they were spearheading monotony with innovation and more “cores” than we could double bass pedal our way through (let’s face it, we were still shitting our Oshkosh B’Gosh’s). But post-hardcore has been obedient and never talked back to the decades that have mutated it. It’s roots have grown deep in it’s 20 plus years of giving innovative bands a kingdom-phylum-class-order-family-genus species.
However, I saw a very bright twinkle in the reaction I got from this Grand Rapids based quartet. When I asked the much anticipated “what would you guy’s consider yourselves?” Not only did they give me a wonderful outlook on just what to expect sound wise, but what all the hard work behind it means as well. After the question was asked, I felt like an idiot because of all of the laughter that followed, but it wasn’t directed at me. It was directed at the countless people who ask themselves: “Who’s image and sound should we recycle?”
Not Fine Fine Titans.
That was the last thing on the mind of husband/wife (bassist/vocalist) Evan and Jennifer Bartlett when the duo set out with a stern blue collar approach to making their ideas take shape. After dealing with conflicting schedules and lack of commitment from various others, the nameless group’s jam sessions soon zeroed in on guitarist Dustin Posthuma and drummer Jason Campbell before becoming Fine Fine Titans. In just a few month’s time, they were show ready with a hydra of an attitude even Andrew W.K. would be proud of. But don’t let “show-ready” fool you. The FFT lineup has enough experience in making rock happen with each member being involved in enough acts collectively to make Equal Visions or Ferret blush. There is no distinction between performing for audiences and rehearsals, the energy and fun literally never stops. While sitting in on practice, I was dodging frets and at one point, I almost voided involuntarily because 11 was, indeed, what they were cranked up to.
Their first show was at the now defunct MXTP venue, and after FFT’s first song has faded, the crowd had forgotten about the bands to come. “I refuse to believe that was their first show.” was a popular comment amongst the listeners and it pretty much summed up their set. It was obvious that these musicians were blue-balling with creativity and every show you see is an extension of that climax.
Now comes the hard part: picking apart that climax. Explaining in the sound in what music journalist have run ashore on…name dropping. On several occasions, I’ve heard “Dude! They totally sounds like Every Time I Die with a chick singer!” I imagine this taken as a compliment with ETID being, indeed, a favorite amongst the members, but there is more. The transitions take me back to The Bled’s ‘Found In The Flood’ and ‘Pass The Flask’ days, adding that finesse to the ferocity. With Dustin peppering the riffs with just enough southern flavor a la Maylene and The Sons of Disaster, he turns the aggression up a notch, making me want to throw in “I Am Hollywood” from He Is Legend. Anyone comparing FFT to Paramore solely due to the fact that they have a female vocalist should punch themselves in the dick or lady parts. Jenn has a utility belt full of surprises. On top of sloping the notes she hits into powerful vibratos, she throws in Chino Moreno-esque screams with murderous frantic shrills before breakdowns that make you want to dance AND throw people simultaneously. “We’re rolling out the red carpet to Hell!” Jenn screams in my face during a set while Evan’s haunting bass tone sings atmospheric like an unavoidable giant’s foot looming overhead and I believe her. Then Jason machine-guns with heavy halftime and the giant walks.
I remember a status update Jenn had posted a few month’s ago: “The problem with the Grand Rapid’s music scene is the musicians.” Harsh, but a severely agreeable view on something that used to be so positive, leading me back to the band’s reaction to the genre question. Under all of the laughter and joking, I see what they really meant by finally, with an almost annoyed delivery, answering my question with “post-hardcore.” As if to say, “Just shut the hell up and listen…and look away from the mirror for one second.” But we all know it’s not about that anymore, it’s about looking bored and smoking…it’s about millions of un-hoppable band-wagons and a pissing contest that has no indefinite shape or form.
However, Fine Fine Titans are there to help you remember that being fun, approachable, kind, loud, aggressive and friendly is still cool. Work hard for your ideas, don’t just wear them.
Watch out for their EP “Arms” coming out this summer.”