Dads - I'll Be The Tornado (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


I'll Be The Tornado (2014)

6131 Records

If people weren't flocking to Dads after Pretty Good, they'll definitely be doing so now. As they continue jamming indie rock with emo and punk, what they manage to paint yet again is another heartfelt sketch on family and loss. I'll Be The Tornado is highly focused, driven and a record that never seems content. A lot of this comes down to John Bradley's words -- and he's never sounded as hungry and angsty as this, which makes the songs resonate that much more. As a guitar-centric indie-rock ten-tracker, Dads map out a path for powerful, connecting darts, take aim and leave you enjoying the pain.

Let me not forget the credit that's due for guitarist Scott Scharinger before I continue. He forges a lot of their math-heavy sound and it's in this intricacy that Bradley's kit work comes out to play. The dynamic between these guys really drives their music home. They know how to compromise the more punk-laced aspects of their sound with the more melodic and slower elements. This is what gives them the ideal canvas to paint their mid-tempo goodies on. "Grand Edge, MI" exemplifies this. It lurks as a visceral, nerve-wracking opener to set the stage for what's to come. It builds from a warm acoustic start and branches out into Dads' louder aesthetic, which is found only in sprinkles over the rest of the album. Most of the songs follow this pattern and are more subtle as opposed to indie anthems but what holds constant is the human and personal feel that Bradley uncovers.

They transition so well into edgier punk-based tracks like "Sunburnt Jet Wings" and "You Hold Back" (which is a marvelous display of Bradley's quick hands) but it's when things are dialed back, Dads manage to stand out as truly one of a kind. "But" is another prime example of this. A slow jam that's so relatable yet it's a hard pill to swallow. It's another smooth melody that bursts into a big crescendo and once more, the way these guys pull off such a tension-ridden sprawl is fucking astounding. They definitely earn their keep with what they churn out on such minimal (yet telling) songs. With all their idiosyncrasies fully intact, no song feels derivative or cloned and it's this freshness that makes I'll Be The Tornado stick even more. The soft spoken "Fake Knees" then conspires to bridge the gap between the trauma of being a teen and the journey to adulthood -- which more or less sums up how much Dads speak about life and the hurtful experiences you'll encounter. It can be a bit much at times but as pained as they are, it does make for good music.

Almost all of this album feels like a direct correlation to "No We're Not Actually" off Pretty Good and I think that's what wins me over. It's another chapter of heartache for a band that lives to tell these stories in the most potent and thought-provoking manner. As long as Dads keep up this momentum, believe me, they'll put out even better music. Given what they've done already, that'll be a tall order, but I'm sure they're up to the challenge.