Where Has the Music Gone?

Enduring several lineup changes since their 2006 inception, General Tso’s Fury is set to release a new LP entitled ‘Where Has the Music Gone?’ This new set of material is the first since 2012 for this Florida based septet. Without further ado…
1. “Hypertension”- After being “introduced as the next biggest thing” at a night club or concert venue, General Tso’s Fury (GTF) lays down a face-melting, metal with horns instrumental. Great stuff. Grade: A

2. “I Look Better When I’m Naked”- Picking up where the last track left off, comes a true pop punk number that doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is obvious from the subject matter. While I will politely decline lead vocalist Jordan Freeburn’s offer to “… find out for yourself,” I will however, give mad props to this tune. Grade: B+

3. “Home Appliances”- Speeding things up a bit, Mr. Freeburn and Co. play a straight up punk number. The lyrics seem to be drowned out by the guitar at times and seem a little disjointed. The horns are also lacking for most of the song, up until the end where they really rip! Grade: B

4. “Fist Bump”- As opposed to “Home Appliance,” the horn section plays more of pivotal role in this upbeat danceable number. Great solos are found in “Fist Bump” along with great use of vocal harmonization. This one kind of reminds me of a Suburban Legends tune. Grade: B+

5. “Cereal Time”- “Cereal Time” is the kind of song that definitely gets better on repeat listens. Sure the song is not tackling foreign policy or any other heavy subject matter, but hey, it’s a great song about cereal! This is a fun little tune done in the traditional 3rd wave style. Grade: A-

6. “Spoiler Alert”-Crazy fast horns and guitar make this an instant ska/punk classic. Around the halfway point, GTF takes a slight detour, busting out more of a swanky rock number, complete with muted trumpet. Wow! Grade: A-

7. “Q & A”- Its reggae rock time in “Q & A.” More attention is paid to the vocals on this tune, giving the whole song more of a smoother vibe. While Jordan’s voice is not unpleasant during the other tunes, I really resonate more with him on this one. His attempt at singing shines through vs. the more aggressive punk style vocals found on many of the other songs. Best song so far! Grade: A

8. “Joel Sux”- At first I thought I was in store for a song that was a clone of the 1000s of other punk songs out there. Once warmed up, melodic rock shines through. Although the horns are few and far between, they accent the song nicely. A solid tune. Grade: B+

9. “Rock, Paper, Scissors”- I believe the A-oks coined the phrase “partycore.” If ever there was a song by a different band that fit into this category, this would be the one. At its core, it is a horn-driven punk number with a lot of changing melodies and a killer guitar solo. Pull out your rock fist for this one! Grade: A-

10. “Suck It Up”-I’m not really sure what to say about this song other than it is rock with an old-timey feel to it. I like the addition of piano in this one; however this is not my favorite tune by any stretch. Grade: B-

11. “Cougars”-Ooh, tension is building. What am I in store for? Talking vocals cut in with singing. There is a lot going on here. GTF tries to meld together 4 song styles into a “Frankensong” of sorts. I do appreciate the wittiness; however, I’m not digging this one. Grade: C-

12. “U-Turn”- According to the lyrics, this song “may sound like all the rest,” but I still dig it. It is a straight up punk number void of any horns, but a ride you will surely want to take. Grade: B+

13. “Where Has the Music Gone?”- This wouldn’t be a proper album unless there was some acoustic guitar in the final song right? Some vocal quality is lost due to Jordan really trying to belt it out on this one, but this is still one helluva tune. Grade: B+

Are you ready to rock your socks off? Then I highly suggest giving General Tso’s Fury’s ‘Where Has the Music Gone’ a listen. Looking at the album as a whole, there is a generous helping of tunes with 13 tracks to its name. While there are slight variations in style, as well as some musical experimentation, GTF sticks mainly to their ska/punk roots. Following the lead of Reel Big Fish, GTF injects a sense of humor into the mix, especially in “Cereal Time”, “Cougars” and “I Look Better When I’m Naked.” With only a couple of snags along the way (“Suck it Up” and “Cougars”), I look forward to listening to this again and again. Musically speaking the horns are punchy and a key element to the sound, whether they are the driving force behind a song, or more of just an accent. Vocally, most songs are done in the classic punk style (ie “Home Appliances”, “U-turn” etc.). While fine by itself, a new depth is added when these vocals are harmonized with another band member. Even better still, is when lead singer Jordan softens things a bit (such as in “Q &A” and “Rock, Paper Scissors”) to create pure audio candy. This in my opinion is the different between a good song and a great one. At the risk of sounding like every other ska/punk outfit on the block, GTF steps away from the pack with witty lyrics, and the ability to create a fun, fun time with their music. So, ‘Where Has the Music Gone’ anyway? Well, it’s right here my friends! Check it out!

Overall Grade: B

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