Monday, February 18, 2008

A Warm Kiss Instead of a Cold Goodbye

“We have just put out word that we will not be making a new Format album.” February 4, these words were posted on The Format’s site in a blog by lead singer and lyricist Nate Ruess. Apparently the band is in different places musically now and another Format album just doesn’t seem right to them. Immediately, fans began responding, sending their sadness, sympathy, and even disbelief to the band. Even now, weeks after the fact, some diehards have convinced themselves this is just an elaborate ruse to relieve the band of some pressure about releasing their album. It appears clear, however, that The Format have decided no longer to tour or record, leaving a gaping hole in modern music.

Nate and long time friend Sam Means created The Format in 2001, eventually releasing their first demo (titled EP). Sam lead in writing the music to which Nate would then form lyrics to. Local radio began to play “The First Single”, one of the tracks on EP. The song began to garner attention from Elektra Records, who the band eventually signed with in 2002. The next year, they would release their first studio album, Interventions + Lullabies. “The First Single” would reappear on the album, and be released as their only single. It would not be, however, the only song on Interventions + Lullabies receive attention. Local radio stations also began to play “Tune Out”. The album also contains a major fan favorite, “On Your Porch”. Featuring some of Nate’s best lyrics and a simple but beautiful guitar part by Sam, the song remains to be among the band’s most popular.

After touring and a brief break, the band went back to the studio to record their next EP, Snails. Rumors have stated that this is where Sam and Nate began to see things differently, eventually leading to their hiatus. Sam had written a perky song that he had told Nate he wanted happy and short. Nate returned with slightly depressing lyrics that made the song over four minutes long. The song was released as Nate saw fit. Shortly after, the band was dropped from their label, Atlantic Records. In spite of this, they went on to form their own imprint label, Vanity Label. Under this, they released their highly anticipated sophomore album Dog Problems. It showed a huge evolution in the band, refining the sound (some would even say perfecting it). The album would give them national attention they had never received, or even expected, before. Dog Problems also received great reviews, much higher than those of Intervention + Lullabies.

Following the release of Dog Problems, The Format began to tour constantly in order to promote it. Because of the increased national attention, they were able to tour with bigger, more mainstream-famous bands such as All American Rejects, Jimmy Eat World, and Taking Back Sunday. Eventually, the band would co-headline a tour with Guster, playing colleges all across the United States on the Campus Consciousness tour. Eventually, The Format took off headlining their own tour, featuring bands such as Piebald and Steel Train. Regarded as one of the best shows to see live, the band promised a new album soon near the end of the shows. They also released B-Sides and Rarities, a collection of demos and covers to appease fans during the wait. It seems that it may be their final release.

Now, fans mourn the loss of the one of the greatest bands of our time. The Format found a way to blend a 1970’s pop sound with a punk and indie twist. They were a unique band with a sound all their own. However, fans must remember that everything is far from over. Nate has already promised a solo album, and he remains close friends with Sam. He has even gone on to say that getting the band back together may not be completely out of the question. For now, fans will have to sit back and listen to the already impressive discography and hope Nate and Sam are “doing alright.”

If Work Permits... - The Format

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