There’s a certain gentle chaos to Family, the second full-length from Montreal’s Think About Life. The band, formed in 2005, approaches their craft with a sort of playfulness that proves contagious, blowing their tunes past the usual dance-pop range into a hyperactive heap of joyful racket that makes for perfect club music for thirtysomethings too old or too smart for the likes of Akon.
Using a perfect combination of synthesizers, guitars, samples, and beats, Think About Life hooks you in immediately and never lets up until the absurd pleasure rolls to a stop at the close of 2009's Family.
Think About Life isn’t a particularly profound group, but the work of keyboardist Graham Van Pelt and vocalist Martin Cesar certainly pushes all the right buttons in their quest to groove the night away. Special Noise’s Greg Napier rocks the drums and Caila Thompson-Hannant handles the bass to fill out the band’s strong rhythm section.
The band released their debut album, a self-titled record, in 2006 on Alien8 Recordings. Family, the follow-up, carries that same unbridled energy, but it also hones some of Think About Life’s musical skills and builds on the chaos and spirit of the debut.
Their approach is daring, like a child inventing a whole new world with stuffed animals and pillow forts, and they manage to go beyond the rule of the “adult dance record” thanks to some serious dedication to tracing that intangible fun factor.
The greatness of Family really hinges on their energy as a unit and each song is comprised of infectious grooves that mine old-school hip hop and funk. Some cuts are a little sample-heavy, but that’s all a part of the exploratory spirit that keeps things interesting when less appealing bands would have traversed down safer roads.
“Johanna” boots things up appropriately, using funky-as-hell horns to guide this ship of merry fools right into a wallop of start-and-stop awesomeness. Cesar reaches up for a handful of high notes, resulting in a mischievous nod to Earth, Wind & Fire.
Cuts like “Havin’ My Baby” and “Sweet Sixteen” rev this party into the next gear. The band builds on delectable bass lines and samples to crank out cool and fresh party tracks that will have you longing for summer days, BBQs and gaudy umbrella drinks.
And “The Veldt” is playful and guitar-driven, making lots of use out of hints of Eastern music and vocal harmonies.
This is one Family that deserves to be cranked. Whether rolling to work clothed in standard issue suit and tie or kicking back in that magnificent do-it-yourself nightclub in your yard (or is that just me?), Think About Life’s second album is dance music for grown-ups. It’s cheerful, unique and, best of all, shitloads of fun.