Album review: Fluid Foundation

Some bands have the cohesion, the charisma, that easily makes them irresistible. Oceanside, CA’s Fluid Foundation, on their premier, self-titled release (17th Street Records) reaches a sound that’s infectious and spirited, even it’s not too groundbreaking. On one hand, here’s another California band writing songs with choruses like, “Roll with me, baby/Stay with me, girl… We’ll make our own world” (“Roll With Me”). On the other hand, the song has the same production value and groove-rich compositions that homeboys like Slightly Stoopid have mastered. So, to sum up, Fluid Foundation writes really awesome average songs.
Nathan Arriola’s deadpan voice sounds like he’s smiling, in the same way Micah Pueschel (Iration) pulls off. Similarly, this band is tight. Shaun Dubick and Tony Saenz make one heck of a drum n’ bass duo, often sticking to taught, punchy rhythms. Yet these guys are totally new school. Each track glistens like a minted Cadillac. Every song, despite sounding really good, rides on predictable lyricism, and it’s up to this happy-go-lucky team to set it off like fireworks, which they do.

Here’s a great example: “Livin’ Carefree” is actually a song about dog adoption, (a noble cause, no doubt), but here are some of the lyrics: “Being around you is all I need/ When I’m with you/ you make me feel carefree.” The song comes off sounding like any other love song, save for a few hidden lines like, “You’re my best friend,” and, “I can’t tell who rescued who.” Fluid Foundation could take notes from the best example I can think of for a song about canines: Passafire’s “Black Dog” (Vines, Easy Star Records 2013).

But songs like “Cruizin’” are wrenchingly catchy, as is “Rolle With Me”. Perhaps the album’s most influential track is “Take The Lead”, which, although lighthearted instrumentally, offers a higher message. “You can follow/or take control,” Nathan beckons. “Give yourself some room to grow.” I mentioned Iration earlier. Their guitarist, Micah Brown, guests, and the two bands share similar knack for writing three-and-a-half-minute pop/reggae, radio-ready summer crushes. This is by no means a bad skill to have, I just believe Fluid Foundation has enormous potential that their first record only hints at.

For a first attempt, Fluid Foundation is already off to a great start. I worry for their longterm freshness, but then again, pop is pop for a reason, and if you’re into songs that make you want to ride the coast on a sunny afternoon, let Fluid Foundation be your soundtrack.

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