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Boys & Girls
Artist: Flight 180
Label: BEC Recordings
Length: 14 tracks

A few years ago, BEC femme-ska band One Eighty changed their name and released an album of swing covers, to, as the band admits, capitalize on the current swing fad in America. According to the bandís current press release, they canít understand why people thought they were a swing band. Iíll refrain from giving my opinion on that.

At any rate, Flight 180ís latest record, Boys & Girls, is definitely not a swing record. The press release drops the name of No Doubt about fifty times, but I hear a much greater Dance Hall Crashers influence to it, with its zippy guitars and harmonized female vocals. The lyrics are quite obviously focused at early teenage girls ­ quite a few of the songs are about wanting a boyfriend, not getting a boyfriend, and unsurprisingly for a youth group band, being satisfied with God. Obviously, I donít fit this demographic, so I have a hard time appreciating the lyrics, but if youíre thirteen years old, female and you like Dance Hall Crashers, this is right
up your alley.

Michial Farmer (2/26/2001)

Flight 180, the swing-ska band formerly known as One Eighty, is back, right? Only half correct. The band, which had to change its name after its first project, Crackerjack just before the all-swing Lineup (if you prefer swing, get a copy of Lineup), makes it very clear that their style of music is straight-ahead rock and roll. There are hints of ska and punk that point towards the sound of BEC label-mates Value Pac or the OC Supertones as well as Big Dog Small Fence. Flight 180 has sliced its eight-member lineup to four but still enlists the help of former members for Girls and Boys. Madelyn Mendoza still lends vocal support on a few songs to keep the two-girl lead vocals intact, but Kimmy Tennberg fronts the band as "chick rock," much like the Go-Go's. The misnomer with the group's sound style is due to the success of "Tick Tock" and "405" (leading to the "Lineup" project), for which listeners considered Flight 180 a swing band. Not unlike Crackerjack, Girls and Boys sounds a bit retro, and that's good news. Flight 180 isn't back, but the band is back on track.

Flight 180's Girls and Boys is 100% power-punched pop/rock/ska/punk/swing (oops! there's a hint of swing there; that ingredient is a fine element for Flight 180). Every track from this project is one that deserves to be played LOUD! The music is exciting, and I want to see Flight 180 perform these songs in concert.

Girls and Boys is a pointed step forward from Crackerjack, as its lyrics are bolder and incredibly sharp. Each song is Christ-centered, and standout tracks are "I Want a Guy," which deals with God's perfect timing for our personal relationships; "Superhero" (guess Who's our true Superhero?); "More," focusing on the theme of putting Jesus Christ first in our lives; and "Good Thing" (the only bit of swing here), our simple acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior as a "definite good thing." There are fun tracks here, too. Check out "Wal Mart" and "Boys Will Be Boys." The former's about a touring band finding comfort of something familiar on the road, and the latter is from a girl's perspective, the beauty of being a human being.

Flight 180 is really back on track with Girls and Boys, and if you like the music style described (including, very importantly: LOUD), grab a copy of Girls and Boys as quickly as possible. There is still room for improvement for this very tightly-knit band. The intro to "Time" could have ripped into its upbeat tempo immediately, and Tennberg's vocals can stand to be mixed up just slightly to give her a true "front" to an excellent band. I expect big things from Flight 180 for many years to come, and Girls and Boys tracked an excellent flight log.

By Olin Jenkins  3/4/2001

   
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