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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, February 24, 2024

Flobots' debut shows all the 'Tools' of a great band

Denver natives, the Flobots, have burst onto the hip-hop scene with their socially and politically infused music. Their major label debut, Fight With Tools, has taken the genre for a spin by straying from the typical topics of money and girls and, instead rhyming discontents about the state of the nation. With their strong vocals and instrumentals blended with rap beats, Fight With Tools is an album worth listening to, not just for getting down and dirty.  


There's A War Going For Your Mind"" is one of the finest intro tracks of the modern era. It's the epitome of their philosophy, demonstrating the ability to meld well-crafted musical backings and rap rhymes. Right from the start, the message of the album is clear, sporting lines such as ""Covergirl cutouts throw up pop-up ads / Infecting victims with silicon shrapnel"" and ""Professional wrestlers and vice presidents want you to believe them"" that the Flobots believe the media and government are too prominent in today's society. 


Flobots have quickly become a household name due to the success of their first single, ""Handlebars."" The sound of a quiet viola plucking mixed with electronic singing doesn't seem to fit with the rap that follows at first, but the success of the Gorillaz proved it can be done, and emcee Johnny 5 doesn't let us down. ""Handlebars"" is the perfect blend of indie jams and rap beats that will be stuck in your head for days. 


Each and every song flows with the vocal switch from Jonny 5 to Brer Rabbit to the musical touches of violist Mackenzie Roberts and trumpet aficionado Joe Ferrone. Setting themselves apart from other groups, each member's specialty is blended seamlessly into the overall, rather than just being featured occasionally.  


The Flobots ability to change song styling is stunning. Going from the rap-laden ""Mayday"" to the funk found in ""Same Thing"" keeps listeners hooked on trying to figure out where the band will go next.  


From the variety of topics covered, it's clear the brains behind Flobots pay attention and read the news. The chilling story of the white southerner, ""Anne Braden"" shows hope for an end of continued discrimination: ""I guess I'm not your type of lady / And I guess I'm not your type of Southerner."" Openly protesting the discontent about the war in Iraq, ""Stand Up"" criticizes the action taken by the government, stating ""The people want peace / But the leaders want war"". 


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Despite being an intensely political record, Flobots make various pop culture references to avoid a constant stream of overbearing rants. However, this opinionated album is a throwback to the original rap movement where rhymes were for change. Armed with such a strong debut, the Flobots have made their mark and shown the potential to be around for quite some time. 

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