titofelixAll Good Things… (2006) – The Good Guys Dojo, Indie Rock

As I plugged my Gmini (the indie mp3 player) into my car, I was happy to say that I was going to listen to music I had not obtained through nefarious means. Yes, that’s right, the music I was going to listen to was free. You see, titofelix has decided that for their latest album they will allow anyone to download it for free off their website – a gutsy move. The album, All Good Things…, was released Fall 2006 under the “The Good Guys Dojo” label. It is titofelix’s third iteration, and the album has superlatives like “musical genius” and “catchy lyrics” tagged to its name. As described on their web page “for over five years, Marc Cordon, P.J. Sobremonte, Robeen Dey and ‘BabyJay’ Jay Opalia have entertained fans nationwide with their infectious brand of rock. With the recent completion of their third full-length album, ‘All Good Things…’, titofelix is set to take their music to the next level!”

So as I turned on the music at 5:30 in the morning I was hoping for some of their self promotion to be true, if only to keep me awake. The first song, A Way To Everything, did not strike me as all that compelling. The intro was uninspired, the lyrics pedestrian (you can call me Mr. Pompous), and on the whole the song was rather formulaic. It was your generic pop punk sound. Granted, the production was clean, but the song did little to make me want to nod my head, unless to sleep. Not the best song to base your first impressions on, but I continued. The next song, Lie Apart, fortunately was much more to my liking. They had a cool sonic flowing in the background and musically sounded better than the first song. The vocals were a bit more challenging, occasionally hovering into higher registers. However, the lyrics still were a bit stale.

And that is probably my biggest issue with this album. Cordon’s introspective lyrics, though relatable, are too simple, and come off as unoriginal rather than sincere. At titofelix’s worst, a song like Something Strange comes off as wrist-slittingly cheesy with lyrics like “I try but something strange about you / Says I should die than live without you / I try to make my own decisions / But somehow you choose to keep me living on” which is only compounded by the horrible decision to add melodramatic dissonance at the end. Thumbs down. At titofelix’s lyrically best such as What Went Wrong, lines like “So here I sit and think if ever I went wrong / It was the times when I wasn’t a servant to myself / So I recommit to believing what resides inside / Is all I need to get by so I won’t think about that” are ordinary, but at least uplifting. It also helped that the song sounded alright.

Musically, the first half of the album is more yawn-inducing than head-banging. Even in one of the better songs, On Your Shoulders, the lines “When outside, we turned inside out, To us its all relative” are sung so many times that I began to think, what the hell does that even mean? (though in their defense I’m stupid) I gotta say though, I totally dig the harmony in that song. Of course, I’m a stickler for harmony so it could sound terrible and I’d still be like sweet, I’m gonna pretend to be the back up singer (but I digress). After the sweeping funkalicious sounds of BobDey Vs. Rubox Interlude, a totally random track, the album starts to pick up. They stray away from their pop punk sound a bit, and start to play slower, more experimental songs. Things really get going with What Went Wrong which adds sonic effects as well as a cool rhythm sound effect. My only issue is when Cordon’s voice sings by itself which sounds too weak (especially when you’re wearing headphones) without the band backing him up. I liked the feedback sound in Keep You Alive which reminded me ever so slightly of Smashing Pumpkins (and only for a brief moment), and I think their last song, Anak, is their best, adding sonics that give the music a better atmosphere. But once again the repetition of the last line was a bit too much for me.

All Good Things… definitely has some singles worth listening to. I hope the second half of the album will be the direction that titofelix goes on their next album. But for now, enjoy the fact that it is free.

matty wise