Playful New York three-piece, fun., are: vocalist - Nate Ruess, guitarist - Jack Antonoff and multi instrumentalist - Andrew Dost, with regular live input coming from touring member Emily Moore on vocals and keys.
fun. made waves in 2010 with their debut album "Aim and Ignite". Their refreshing, combination of Broadway melodies, 70s rock, pop and soul, has charmed and mesmerized critics in the USA, most remarking on how self descriptive and highly appropriate their band name is.
fun. make up-beat, coherent, alternative pop, whilst managing to introduce their humour and verve, demonstrated in their tracks "Walking the Dog" and "At Least I'm Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)". They manage to avoid becoming a novelty band, but also avoid the pitfalls of pretentious juxtaposition, and kooky affectation, that so many other bands fall into, when navigating this sort of territory.
fun. toured with Paramore in the USA earlier this year, and were so well received, that both parties decided to repeat the success in the UK, this November. Their Dot to Dot appearance was probably the last chance to see them in a small UK venue for a while then!
Subculture were there for fun.'s Dot to Dot performance downstairs at the Fred Perry Stage in May, and caught up with the boys for an interview earlier in the day, where amongst other things Nate Ruess confirmed the nature of his relationship with Rihanna.
That's why the opening track to fun.'s debut record, Aim and Ignite, is so perfect. Ironically titled "Be Calm," the song frenetically shifts from a sweet ballad, to a full-blown show-tune number, to a stomp-along head-banger for just two awesome seconds (2:03) and finally to a euphoric marching band anthem.
The opening 20 seconds of "Be Calm" also work as a sort of overture for the album, which in turn could work as a full-fledged Broadway musical. Stories are told, characters are created, multiple voices are heard, and most importantly, Ruess' theatrical vocals and instrumentals paint a picture with their flamboyance. And through it all are scattered elements of normal pop songs.
But "normal" tracks aren't really on the menu when Ruess is in charge. Same goes for Jack Antonoff, lead singer for the phenomenal Steel Train, who plays guitar for fun. and makes his influence felt too. Gospel choirs barge into tracks like the epic "Benson Hedges" and the stunning, uplifting "Barlights."
Female vocalists chime into "Be Calm" and "At Least I'm Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)." But the spotlight is never taken away from Nate, whose voice is on par with that of Freddie Mercury's, reaching unreachable high notes and making you feel emotions that you didn’t know existed. It is truly powerful and versatile- Nate can croon the soft, sweet, tune of “The Gambler” just as nicely as he powers through the raw intensity and soul of "Benson Hedges."...