Call them unoriginal, but the name of this three-man band describes their music perfectly: fun. Lead singer of the now defunct band The Format, Nate Ruess, paired up with instrumentalist Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff, ex-members of Anathallo and Steel Train, respectively, to create a whirlwind of an album that cooks together show-tunes, folk, indie pop and an impressively varied instrumentalism to create a perfect slice of feel-good pop.
On Aim and Ignite, Ruess’s distinct voice soars within each song, whether it be the gospel-chorus and voice-belting style of “Benson Hedges” or the lulling croons of “The Gambler.” Ruess’s vocal and range is well-sampled in the album’s opening song, “Be Calm,” which starts off with a somber, violin overture and tumbles into an back-and-forth pull between upbeat staccato beats and blooming instrumentals and rocker style rhythms.
Each song, even the ballads and folksy ones, are bursting with refreshing energy and joy for music. The very danceable “All the Pretty Girls” brings an updated, poppy version of 70s rock, with its synthesized voices and guitar chords. The call-and-response duet between Ruess and a female vocalist on “At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)” is delightful with its cheeky lyrics and strange but catchy mix of sing-song children-like rhymes, an interlude of beach-like instrumentalism of xylophones and slowly belting trumpets and Broadway-like solo.
— By Entertainment Editor