Score One for the Fat Kid – Plan B is for Suckers

Score One for the Fat Kid
Plan B is for Suckers

When I heard that Ruben, the big man with the velvet voice, won American Idol this year, my first thought was how little he looked like what most people would think an American idol should look like. He’s not young and sexy, and he doesn’t have the dance moves to make you feel a little funny. He just had a great voice, and personality. Score one for the fat kid, I thought. His win, and the fact that the runner-up was a geeky white boy with big ears – seemed a minor victory for every person who doesn’t feel they fit into the image of what society prizes most.
I suspect that the four members of the band Score One for the Fat Kid don’t fit into that area either. They’re a math professor, a computer programmer, a bio medical engineer, and a textbook editor. They really like odd time signatures. They include lyrics like “You defy this broken sigh emulsified in your eyes” and “I’ve held fault at arms length as fragments of our history are all I can savor in the vex of our consummation.” I get the sense that these guys have been called geeks before, and I get the sense that they don’t care. Call it math-rock if you must, but Score One for the Fat Kid knows how to rock, and that’s what really matters.
Three of the four members of the band sing, and while it’s obvious when the voice changes, all of the singers have unique qualities – they’re not the best singers, but their voices fit the songs nicely. From the start, “The Sweetheart’s Compass” uses some odd time signatures – the ones that make tapping your foot along really tough – and fast-paced lyrics that even get up to an almost-shout. On “Can You Name These Brain Structures?” it’s the fast-paced guitars that provide the complex intellectualism (and lyrics like “today’s the day they’re handing out brains and I want to get a good one!” help keep up the kind of quirky approach). “Live Was Much Easier When Helmet Was My Favorite Band,” in addition to being a great band name, rocks pretty good, loud and fast and with multiple vocalists often getting up to scream level. The complex note-picked guitar mixes with the poppy-rock of “Decrease the Mass and Run Like Hell,” one of the most sing-along songs on the album. But all of their styles come together on the excellent “Diary of My Indiana Heart” and “The Creepy Claw Descends on Lower Allston.”
At times, Score One for the Fat Kid feels like they could be the geeks at high school playing complex music in their parents’ garages, except none of the kids in my high school were this talented. And who hasn’t rooted for the geeks to make good anyway? All or most of these guys have all served time in other bands reviewed on DOA (Idiot Savant Garde, Andrew Wagner), and they’re surprisingly talented. The fact that this album flat-out rocks most of the time helps too. So yeah, the time signatures and guitar playing tend to be precise and detailed in a way most four- or five-chord bands avoid, but that just adds to the album’s appeal. Indulge the geek within you – you know you were one at some point. Buy this album and help out guys who deserve it.