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New Vision
Posted March 02, 2018
By MaryNikkel_NRT, Staff Reviewer


The mini album El Compadre begins the new era of FF5-- an era fueled by shimmering pop soundscapes with the classic Family Force 5 attitude still intact, led by brothers Jacob and Joshua Olds, who now helm the group as a duo. It's been a tumultuous several years between projects for the brothers, who have endured label difficulties and amicably parted ways with their longtime band members since 2014's Time Stands Still. But with El Compadre they're out to prove their own track true: "This Is My Year."

What it Sounds Like:
El Compadre is a pop project, but don't let that fool you: this is nothing like lowkey, house music-influenced sound that has dominated the past year or two of pop charts. There's a delightfully playful edge provided by the Olds' brothers trademark funk influences and southern sass. Even when building atmospheric electronic beds, there is never a moment that feels overly repetitious. "Fire on the Highway" is a slickly produced, chilled out electronic masterpiece. "Sweatband" and "Tiger Night" are urgent, infectious and propelled by thudding bass lines likely to have an impact on your heart rate. "Stardust" and "Nearsighted" fall somewhere in the middle, riding on instantly memorable midtempo beats.

Spiritual Highlights:
Creating music you can dance to that is also noticeably squeaky clean is a rare feat in and of itself, one that FF5 has carried over from their Family Force 5 days. Beyond that, last year's chart topper "Out of This World" is vertically intentioned, honoring God as the greatest reason for celebration: "Maybe this could be supernatural / Zero gravity, it's so magical / Feeling my heartbeat three-dimensional / I'll go anywhere You go."

Best Song on the Record:
"Tiger Night" might epitomize this new era with its combination of electronic elements (including some features by Mr. Talkbox) and a lot of swagger. "Out of This World" comes in as a close second with its addictive chorus and use of Jacob's full, dynamic range.

Final Word:
Listeners shouldn't go into El Compadre expecting to hear Family Force 5. They should expect to hear FF5: an electronic pop duo with an edge that offers new focus, new vision and seven insanely infectious new songs to wear out on your spring playlists. 

For Fans Of:
Manic Drive, We Are Leo, Fall Out Boy

Listen on Spotify and iTunes.

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