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01. The Royal Crown vs. Blue Duchess
02. Cherry Kiss
03. Chloroform Perfume
04. Mercury Rising
05. Capeside Rock
06. Take Her to the Music Store
07. The Switch
09. Eulogy for an Angel
10. Short Stories With Tragic Endings
Is it possible to have too much of a good thingOr, in From Autumn to Ashes' case, too much of three great things - hardcore, metal, and emoNothing in me wants to say Yes; I want to convince myself that 'Too Bad You're Beautiful' is every bit the innovative, emotional, tough album I heard the first time it spun on my stereo.But I cannot escape the fact that something is off.
FATA's demo, 'Sin, Sorrow, and Sadness' caught the attention of many kids last year with its offbeat blend of styles and undeniable force; the recording was spotty and the band obviously new, so we waited to see how they would progress.When "The Royal Crown -vs.- Blue Duchess" came out on a Ferret sampler, to be the first track on 'Too Bad,' we knew our hopes were met.It has a wholly original call-and-response system to form rhythm: the beginning, for instance, starts with an undistorted guitar strumming the same note rapidly, then the full band repeats the same in heavy, metallic glory.This, now with distortion, speeds up once, then falls into a more conventional passage.A new segment starts, with the first singer shouting and the second singer half-singing, half-screeching, with open riffing adding more than a touch of emo.And here the masterpiece comes: a note is unexpectedly drawn out, and everything slows, and suddenly the song jumps into a sick breakdown, worthy of Disembodied; but it's not a real breakdown, just a quarter of one, and its over when you're in the middle of the pit, halfway through your routine.These little breakdowns are teasers, and I love them.Later, the song switches to a long, moving, hollow piece with singing and no instrumentation; after that, it goes to fast, rock-and-roll styled emocore.
"The Royal Crown -vs.- Blue Duchess" took so many disparate elements, and yet somehow managed to keep a unified sound - it stayed one song the whole time.But over the course of 'Too Bad,' one cannot help but feel that too many things happen separately, and never quite gel.For all the brilliantly integrated songs like "Cherry Kiss," "Capeside Rock," "Take Her to the Music Store," and "Reflections" (seriously beefed up from the demo), there are some where simply too much is tried.Perhaps FATA was trying to avoid producing a generic album with eight songs that no one can tell apart: in this, they succeeded admirably.At the same time, however, a successful hardcore band must absolutely sound not only unique, but recognizable.They must have a sound uniquely Theirs.And unfortunately, FATA stretched its voice too thin in 'Too Bad.'
If this seems overly critical, I defend myself by saying that the variety exhibited by FATA would be a godsend for many, many mediocre bands.In the course of one album, they create peppy rock, hair-tearing emo, skull-crushing mosh, and satan-hailing metal.Not only that, but they do so with fantastic instrumental prowess, great vocals and lyrics, and an all-around sense of proficient song writing.So I criticize because I think that FATA has the potential to be one of the best bands around, and while it may have been flawed, 'Too Bad You're Beautiful' was one of the best releases of 2001.With more focus - hopefully the kind that comes to a band through maturity - FATA will bring a sound to the scene that has infinite appeal to everyone.