The Fondas

Coming Now!

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The Fondas are one of the seemingly endless stream of garage bands flowing out of Detroit in the early 2000s. Coming Now! is their debut record. As is the case with most of the Motor City garage punks, the group is made up of members from other bands from the city. Singer Julie Benjamin is in Slumber Party, guitarist Steve Shaw is from the Detroit Cobras, drummer Chip Sercombe was in the Sillies, and guitarist Mark Niemenski goes all the way back to mid-'80s garage revivalists the Hysteric Narcotics. As is also the case with most of the Detroit garage punks, their sound features overdriven guitars, pounding drums, and soulful vocals. The songs are all covers of soul, country, and rock & roll songs like Don Covay's "Watching the Late Late Show," Nolan Strong's "Yeah Baby," George Jones' "I Don't Know What to Do," and the Supremes' (by way of Smokey Robinson) "Your Heart Belongs to Me." So far so good, one might think. Unfortunately, the record is a stinker. The flat production makes all the songs sound the same, many of the songs like "Down in the Basement" and "I'm So Glad" weren't all that great to begin with, and the guitarists are predictable and not very exciting. While she isn't terrible by any means, Benjamin is not a particularly dynamic singer, and the lack of interesting songs and arrangements unfortunately focuses the spotlight directly on her. This is just not a good record for a band with such a promising pedigree. Sadly, even though it is probably not the case and the band got together for only the best reasons, the record reeks of opportunism and is sure to help start the backlash against the Detroit sound.

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