The Fad – The Now Sound (2015)

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Active from 1982-85, the Fad brimmed with plenty of promise. The band — which included Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, residents Frank Max on guitar, Dave Martin on bass and Russ Fama on drums — composed their own material, were a hit on the local live scene and even traveled to Los Angeles.

But when it came time to deliver their songs to wax, the results were disasterous. The Fad, a six-track EP, was not properly produced, disappointment set in, and the trio tanked. Due to modern technology though, the errors have been corrected, and The Now Sound (Kool Kat Musik) restores the band to its rightful place in history. Along with the EP, the disc further features a dozen other songs the Fad recorded during their far-too-brief tenure.

Stealing a cue from the golden age of ’60s pop rock and sending signals through a vessel of new wave energy, the Fad played songs so exhilarating you want them to just keep going and going. Bopping joyously to a repertoire stitched of jittery rhythms and sharp and stabbing breaks and hooks, topped with hyper harmonies and occasional handclaps, The Now Sound reveals the Fad found a style that worked for them and happily stuck with what turned them on.

Guided by the Fad’s knowing grasp of choppy guitars, economical arrangements, and snappy singing, “Where The Colors Are,” “The Now Sound,” and “Watch The Sky” are the sort of songs intentionally devised to put a grin on your face and a twitch in your toes, where the comparably perky “Countdown” rushes forth with sugary sweet bubblegum bluster.

Lowering the volume a bit and switching the station to the romantic channel, “Broken Hearts” flickers with yearning, and “Fad Twist” reels in as a groovy instrumental that swings and shakes with exuberance.

Envision the Beatles, the Dave Clark Five, and the Big Three transported 20 years into the future and getting together with the Spongetones and the dBs, and there you have The Now Sound. A loose and fun attitude, combined with great songs is what the Fad proposed — and, no matter what era we’re referring to, that always makes for tasty rock and roll.

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