dadsDuring the final moments of Dads’ 2013 EP “Pretty Good,” drummer/vocalist John Bradley wistfully sings “Steady nights of sleeping / Oh how I’ve missed those.” This line perfectly describes the general feeling behind the music of the New Jersey alt-punk duo. Dads have always channeled the sense of chaotic restlessness that comes with their dedicated life as touring musicians – that theme is examined with a mature approach on “I’ll Be the Tornado.”

It seems that both Bradley and guitarist/vocalist Scott Scharinger are constantly yearning for stability and direction in an unstable, directionless lifestyle. A creative life can be equally as destructive, marring relationships and causing intense personal strain. It’s obvious that Dads has reflected on this; this translates into songs with lyrical depth, effortlessly balancing hard-hitting moments and tender emotion.

The album opens with the acoustic first half of “Grand Edge, MI,” where Bradley admits that he is distantly watching fleeting opportunities before the classic Dads distortion and massive drumming kick in. The true genius of Bradley’s lyrics shows itself on “Chewing Ghosts,” which finds Bradley contemplating his past decisions. He poignantly speaks of his sobriety and how it affects others – “Maybe you’d like me again if I went back to the bottle / Maybe you’d like me again if I went back to being miserable.”

Dads is a band that embraces their humanity and presents themselves with brutal honesty. Speaking to the shallow hypocrisy of the music scene in “You Hold Back,” Bradley sings that “You can’t go against the grain if there’s no natural wood.” He may be calling out others on their attitudes, but he acknowledges that he’s been immature as well, rather than asserting his moral superiority.

Dads prove how much they’ve grown as musicians on their best written song to date, “But.” Their sense of pacing is impeccable as the song evolves from start-and-stop drum grooves into a beautifully melodic climax. The song gradually builds until Bradley proclaims the album’s title, singing “But when I get there, it’ll be a storm / I’ll be the tornado that keeps you warm.”

From an instrumental perspective, “I’ll Be the Tornado” borrows from the sound of classic emo bands such as American Football or Sunny Day Real Estate. Dads’ focus on melody, coherent structure and lyrical depth is what makes their sound so thoroughly interesting. Even though it can be analyzed on a deeper level, Dads’ music will always lend itself to throngs of moshing, crowd-surfing fans who memorize the lyrics and shout them during the band’s endless touring.

Dads may just be a duo, but they’re surrounded by a legion of incredibly passionate fans, actively listening as the group finds themselves. Dads is unafraid of being bold and upfront, maturing their sound as they make room for personal development and healing. With “I’ll Be the Tornado,” they have put out their most honest record to date. Be sure to catch one of their powerful live shows – Dads are currently touring North America with Tiny Moving Parts and Nai Harvest.

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