Culture > Music

Dance force

Music | FF5 puts Christian crunk on the map

Issue: "Home again," July 12, 2008

Christian dance music has a jagged history, the chief trouble being that there's been no one thus far who could pull it off convincingly. Now, a band of three brothers and two friends is almost singlehandedly putting it on the map.

Family Force 5, a "crunk" band that blends electronic effects and metal-rock power chords (à la Linkin Park, without the self-pity), has racked up an army of MySpace fans and critical acclaim in just a few years on the scene. Their latest release, a digital-only EP titled Dance or Die, is the group's most polished, crucial work to date.

Simultaneously literate in the current modes of electronic music and in rock music's colorful, absurd elements from decades past, Dance or Die is remarkable for its willingness to be ridiculous (perhaps not a surprise from a band with stage names like "Soul Glow Activator" and "Chap Stique"). The astral synthesizers and twinkling-star keyboards on the title track make eyes at the '80s, while "Fever" recalls the breakout French electro-pop sensations Justice with its fuzzy distortion backdrop, crunching guitar riffs, and thunderous percussion track.

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An amusing percentage of dance lyrics call for rowdy uprisings, but few are quite passionate enough to fill their own prescription. It only takes one listen to this hyper-catchy, addictive record to understand why Family Force 5's lighthearted heavy music rules the underground.

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