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Music Review: Sci-Fried – Future Tense

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Sci-Fried is, at its core, a Southern rock band hailing from central and south Florida. For those that have heard the band’s music, the realization, of course, is that there is so much more to it than that. With feet firmly planted in nerd culture and tongue (mostly) planted firmly in cheek, Sci-Fried is looking to boldly take rock music where no rock music has gone before.

To that end, Sci-Fried continues to cover just about every bit of nerd and rock ground imaginable. With their newest release, Future Tense, the band reaches for lofty heights and, more often than not, reaches its goals.

The three very strong and diverse tracks that really set the tone for the rest of the record are “LV-426,” “Chosen One,” and “Foiled Again (feat. Marc with a C’).” “LV-426,” an homage to James Cameron’s Aliens, is a sludgy stomper that encourages headbanging and mayhem, exuding the bluster and bravado of the Colonial Marines. “Chosen One” is a playful attempt at Nerdcore with a fuzzy chorus that adds just the right dynamic to make it really fun. “Foiled Again” is an alterna-blues number aided by Marc (with a C)’s vocals that conveys both the silliness and sadness of the constant defeats of the arch-enemies of the Super Friends.

That diversity, in terms of subject matter and style, are what make this album stand out. Covering so many styles within rock and branching out to such an extreme would seem to be a near-suicidal move for a band releasing its third album. Holding it all together is a cohesion and focus that comes from dedication to craft rarely seen nowadays. Added to that, there is a tangible sense that all the guys are having a blast singing about the cartoons, games, shows, movies, and comics they grew up with and have now parlayed in to a music career. The idea that someone could pull this off and be successful at it is not lost on the band in the least, and that feeling of enjoying the moment comes through on each song.

There are also songs that veer outside not only genre conventions but the band’s typical subject matter as well. Sci-Fried started with Ramming Speed, which broke them in with parody songs. Geeks Unite continued the growth by writing original songs about the same subjects. Future Tense continues along the path of the second album, but is starting to take steps into territory that encompasses the mundane world as well as the fantastic one.

The best example here is “Tech Support,” a ska-covered number about a guy that longs for girl that only calls him when she has a problem with her computer. The sense of loneliness and frustration is handled with kid gloves but still is rather evident. Meanwhile, “Looking Back At Today” carries some frustration that the devices of the future promised decades ago still have yet to arrive. Even in the genre-specific tunes, emotion plays a big part; without giving out any spoilers, “Serenity Lost” is drenched in melancholy with almost a country twinge that should bring a diehard Joss Whedon fan to tears.

Not every swing the band takes reaches past the fences. With the recent popularity of vampire shows, books, and movies, “Vampires Suck” lobs a heavier, goth-rock volley that almost–but not quite–reaches the target. Ignoring the easy target, it is still a nice piece of hard rock. Another tune that radio wouldn’t think twice about playing is “Fifty-One,” a love-child of Godsmack and Alice In Chains born in Roswell, New Mexico.

For those looking at the current rock landscape and looking for something different, yet familiar enough to be thoroughly enjoyable, Future Tense could be the perfect prescription. Reaching across several genres and styles, the record is a refreshing change from the norm and is great enough to be enjoyed whether you wear taped-up glasses, Doc Martens, or even a Lynyrd Skynyrd shirt.

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About Michael Melchor