Review: The Downtown Fiction - 'Let's Be Animals'

This review was originally published by Under The Gun Review.

Artist: The Downtown Fiction
Album: Let’s Be Animals
Genre: Pop Punk
Label: Photo Finish Records

The Downtown Fiction is a Pop Punk band consisting of three members. This makes them the most notable punk trio from Fairfax, Virginia to date. This band impresses me considerably. Formed in 2008, The Downtown Fiction has released three EPs and in April they released their debut full length Let’s Be Animals. On top of this, the band is currently headlining the Let’s Be Animals Tour with He is We, Cady Groves and Amely. Not bad eh?

Let’s Be Animals is ten tracks in length (14 for the Deluxe) and is 30 (45 for the deluxe) minutes of awesome. Throughout the entire record, I didn’t pick out many things I thought the group “borrowed” from other pop punk acts. This is not common in pop punk. Usually I will listen to a record and isolate various riffs, vocal patterns, and lyrics I thought were stolen. That was not the case with Let’s Be Animals.

The closest thing I found to a “borrow” was the lyric “kiss my ass” in the lead in track “Thanks for Nothing”. I’ve been listening to this record for well over a week and I still confuse the lyric with a similar lyric in “Merry Christmas, Kiss My Ass” by All Time Low. Nevertheless, the track is extremely catchy and easily hooks the listener into listening to the rest of the record.

“How many times can you look me in the eye and tell me everything is fine when I know it’s not. I don’t even know what I should say now. I can’t speak. I am such a freak.” “Freak” is one of my personal favorites on the album. You can’t help but to sing along to Cameron Leahy’s flawless vocals and tongue in cheek lyrics. The song goes from pop, to a little scream, to a desperate whisper, making a very sincere song arrangement.

“I met a girl and I feel stoned” “Stoned” is a shout it from the mountain tops love number. Upbeat and quick paced, it sends the leg tapping and brings out the air drummer out of the listener (or maybe that was just me). At times, Leahy’s vocals seem to bring the British invasion back. At first I thought my media player had shuffled me to a new Transmission Party track. Despite this, “Stoned” is an excellent song.

“I’m feeling like I keep on talking. I’m repeating myself. My words lost all meaning.” “I Just Wanna Run” is easily the best track on the record. Leahy seems to be running from something or someone and winds up in my head. I have heard it both acoustically and with the full band and either way, the song is addictive and excellent.

“She Knows” utilizes a lot of vocal harmony and is instrumentally perfect. Every layer of this song compliments the one above or below it really well. I’m finding a hard time finding anything actually WRONG with this record.

“Lets take off our clothes, run through the streets, scream at the moon, and scuff up our feet. Won’t hear a word, ‘cause they probably say we’re terrible, let’s be animals.” The title track, “Let’s Be Animals” is a blink-182-esq single about kids having fun. As the lyrics suggest, Leahy relates the wild antics of American teenagers to the actions of wild animals. Why not just have uninhibited, unrestrained, and spontaneous fun? We all go “wild” on occasion, right?

“Wake Up” is the next track (not that we need to after listening to everything thus far). The listener needs to “Make some time, to make some time” to listen to this track (I realize that was a bad joke, but I had nothing else…)

“Alibi” is an accusatory song. Vicious and full of spunk, it starts slow but blasts into a thump-thump of bass and a few lines calling out the singer’s (ex?) significant lover. Alive with “woo-hoos” and heavy breathing, this song is sure to get your heart pumping and limbs moving.

“Tell Me a Lie” is similar. The album seems to have a common theme from some bad romances (Lady Gaga Plug, check.) This song is sort of repetitive but gets in your head easily and if you’re anything like me, you’ll catch yourself singing out loud it when you wake up, in the shower, or in line at the bank (to the elderly lady in front of me, I do apologize for my inconsistent pitch).

“A Wonderful Surprise” is the perfect finish to the album. Sweet and slightly symphonic, it is my second favorite song on the normal release. The Downtown Fiction really hit the terrorist in the head with this one (I had “hit the nail” but this seemed more relevant. USA!) Fading out into a small choir of “ah-ahs”, the album ends quite nicely.

If you decide to spring the extra 3 bucks for the Deluxe Edition (which I recommend), you’ll get 4 bonus tracks including “Medicine For You”, “Losing My Mind”, “Sierra”, and “Hurt Me So Good”. All of these songs are fantastic and, in my opinion, better than a majority of the tracks on the normal version. If you don’t go for the Deluxe Edition (which I will again suggest), you are still getting a great record. The Downtown Fiction has easily stolen a spot in the pop punk world and will not be leaving any time soon.

You’ll have to excuse me now. I have to go to Akron. I’m going to see the Let’s be Animals Tour tonight.

Score: 9/10