Every so often, a band with a signature sound decides it's time for a change. Supertones did it, Bleach did it, Skillet did it, Five Iron Frenzy... kind of did it. See, with Five Iron's latest album, All the Hype That Money Can Buy, there's a slight style change. It's enough to note, but not enough to lose sleep over.
FiF takes a different approach on Hype for their third full studio release (yet fifth album). First off, track 6 is a normal song and there is no hidden track at the end... however, you may want to consider their new approach: a combination of the two... how about "track 0?" If you rewind at the beginning of the first track, you'll here a several-second clip of the group jamming out "What's Up?!" just before track one starts. "The Greatest Story Ever Told" follows the expected mood and style of Five Iron as the bold message of Christ rings through to set up the next fourteen songs.
The experimenting follows... "Me Oh My," a mildly silly fast-paced ska/rockabilly song; "Solidarity," a salsa tune, FiF style; a 70s/80s arena rock mockery, "The Phantom Mullet." But fans will release a relaxing, soothing sigh when they hear "Ugly Day," a traditional FiF ska song which was first heard on their live CD. Despite it's sad meaning about Reese's ex-fiance, "Ugly Day" packs FiF punch that was best represented on their 1997 release Our Newest Album Ever.
A surprise on the album is the uncomfortable "Fahrenheit," a song about how Christians don't always practice "loving the sinner and hating the sin." "Mr. Fahrenheit" is about Freddie Mercury. FiF steps out to tackle the touchy subject that needs to be touched on. However, it comes off a little more awkwardly than intended and strangely out of place.
The insanity fans have come to know in FiF explodes in "You Probably Shouldn't Move Here," when the hillbilly music runs rampant throwing yodeling, farm animal noises, and even an appearance from one of the Ws into the listeners lap. Other album highlights include the circus-crazed dark feel of "Giants," The half-minute long tribute, "I Still Like Larry," a cover of Tom Jones' "It's Not Unusual," the anti-school violence anthem, "A New Hope," and the worshipful gem, "World Without End."
All the Hype That Money Can Buy may surprise some fans, but it's no disappointment. Hype slam-dunks another successful Five Iron Frenzy release into their discography list, and into any fan's CD collection.- Review date: 4/10/00, written by John DiBiase of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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