F.A.T.E.

For All That's Endured

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When "Fallin'," the lead-off track on F.A.T.E.'s debut album For All That's Endured is quickly overlaid by rapper Rowdy Rahz talking about his ability to "sex" some woman, you might suppose that the disc is going to be more of a hip-hop effort than it really turns out to be. This trio of teenage singers from the New York-New Jersey area is, of course, just a mouthpiece for various songwriting/production teams, and the overall style is the kind of slavishly rhythmic ballads with call-and-response vocals currently popular in R&B. The lyrics explore the physical contours of teen romance, notably the conflicting desire expressed in the first single, "Just Because," and "If I Tell You Yes," as well as its material aspect in such songs as "Soon As You Get Paid" and "I Don't Need Your Money." But the singers seem unusually concerned with hitting their notes, which makes this a more satisfying vocal effort than most. And the arrangements are at least as concerned with melody as rhythm so that there are real tunes here. Such qualities are in danger of being tagged "old school," and yet these tracks are as current as any. As a result, For All That's Endured is a cut above the run-of-the-mill release; no more than that, to be sure, but that's still a small pleasure.

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