Recording information: Los Angeles, California (01/2015/04/2015).
Director: Zac Carper.
Arranger: Zac Carper.
First of all, one has to admire the courage of the Frights in naming their second album You Are Going to Hate This, a title that practically begs for an insulting response in the grand tradition of Spinal Tap's Shark Sandwich. And given the way these guys shuffle together old-school punk, pop moves salvaged from '50s and '60s rock, and lo-fi electronic trickery, it's quite likely that some folks will love parts of this album and turn up their noses at others. You Are Going to Hate This bursts out of the starting gate with the charging guitars and pounding drums of the pop-punk "All I Need." By track three, the band has downshifted into the airy pop (with wheezing electronic undertones) of "Afraid of the Dark," and "Haunted" and "Tungs" show the Frights slipping deeper into the world of spooky weirdness. Washes of doo wop-style harmonies and surf guitar tones fade in and out of the mix as well, and lead singer and guitarist Mikey Carnevale has mastered the art of sounding wholesome and slightly addled at the same time. There are moments where You Are Going to Hate This recalls Ween's more polished work in its fusion of catchy melodies and purposefully eccentric embellishment, though this lacks Ween's queasy Scotchguard-impaired tone and seems to have been created through the band's own natural embrace of oddball pop. Carnevale, bassist Richard Dotson, and drummer Marc Finn sound tight and methodical for a band that, to take them at their word, started as a sort of a prank, and if these guys are still joking, their delivery is inarguably impressive. Are you going to hate You Are Going to Hate This? Maybe, but it's more likely you won't. ~ Mark Deming