New Jersey/Michigan indie band Dads are back with their new album I’ll Be The Tornado, the only thing the band have put out in the way of new material since 2013’s Pretty Good EP. The band toured with Touché Amoré and Tigers Jaw this summer, and have recently been growing more on people and breaking into the ‘scene’. With this album we see Dads really stepping away from the twinkly guitars of American Radass (this is important) and focusing on a more emotionally charged indie rock sound, combined with the fact that the lyrics seem more like sketches of the transition into adulthood- giving it a more professional and meaningful feel.
The album starts with ‘Grand Edge, MI’, which begins acoustically and runs for almost 5 minutes. To many, this is a very unexpected start to the album considering both the opening tracks to American Radass.. and Pretty Good began with lively drums. This track feels more reminisicent of the drummer John Bradley’s material from Cardinal Cardinal. Although the track starts slow, it takes it’s time and eventually picks up into a vicious conclusion 3 minutes or so into the song. This feels like a near perfect introduction and if they could reflect the vibe of this song into a live show, it would go down amazingly. The song anchors the senses of maturity in their lyrics with lines like “I’m looking at pictures of myself smiling with people I don’t talk shit on anymore”.
Next up is ‘Fake Knees’. This track opens with slow drumming and guitar melodies, it is a very calming introduction which blends perfectly when met with the vocals which build up into more energetic but somehow relaxing vocals. This theme is followed throughout the song, yet engages you through vocal changes so that it doesn’t get boring.
‘Sold Year / Transitions’ is the next song on the album. This song feels more harsh and reminds me of garage rock mixed with hints of pop punk, giving off hints of bands like Joyce Manor. One thing that people seem to not realise when listening to Dads is that there are only two people in the band, a guitarist and drummer who both do vocals. This is something to take into consideration when listening to this album, how unique and special it is for just two people to make such a huge sound.
Up next is ‘You Hold Back’. This track opens with a slow guitar tune which actually sounds slightly sad and haunting until the fast drumming kicks in. This track is definitely a more angsty feeling song, with riveting fast/shouty yet melodic lyrics and a complete contrast to the way the album opened. This song is packed full of action and could well be a fan favourite at shows.
Next is another slower track, ‘But’, where the album borrows it’s title from (“I’ll be the tornado that keeps you warm”) which was the first track to be previewed ahead of the record, possibly because it is reminiscent of their slower songs like ‘Shit Twins’ and ‘No, We’re Not Actually’ (which are popular songs amongst fans) as well as early Death Cab in places. This song features confessional lyrics like “I wanna be a part of your inside jokes”, bragging their ability to write emotionally engaging songs as well as catchy and upbeat songs.
Finally, the outro to the album – “Only You”. This song features delicate instrumentation throughout this 7 minute epic in which you can feel John Bradley’s strain and raw emotion in his voice, making it an unforgettable song which surprisingly doesn’t seem to get old despite the length of the track. As the song progresses through low and cordial lyrics, there is a build up which ends in the guitar eventually foregrounding the low, quiet, tense vocals 5 minutes into the track- breaking into intense, tuneful melodies which are soon reunited with louder vocals which yet again showcase John Bradley’s phenomenal vocal range.
Overall, this is an exceptional sophomore album. It is rare to see a band mature in the way Dads have since their first record. They have found a way to develop their selves as musicians by experimenting with different themes and vocal features whilst relatively keeping to their signature sound in a way that it is recognisable and unique to them.
I’ll Be The Tornado is available October 13th through 6131 records. You can stream ‘But’ below.