Goin' my way? Courtesy of Titofelix.com
If you were to make a list of good things that originated from the southeastern part of the United States of America, it would be quite a long list. The Dukes of Hazzard. The cotton gin. Sour mash whiskey. Somewhere in the top five would be fried chicken. And somewhere along the line with the newer items on this list, you might also find a quartet of Asians who rock under the alias Titofelix.
"Under the bridge downtown..." Courtesy of Titofelix.com
Their second independent release, "Character Flaw," has a professional polish to it that belies their three years together. Playing publicly for the first time in September of 2000, the group has polished their sound using the method of honing chops preferred by all professionals in the industry, consistently performing for live audiences year round. Playing on the road at campus venues including NYU, Georgetown, and Florida State, Titofelix have refined their pop-appeal while working the east coast.
After a good, stern listening of this disc, one wonders what has been brewing in the south of late. It is a bit hard to fathom that these guys came out of Atlanta, a place not renowned for its indie-rock scene. Brimming with dense guitar riffs and subtle harmonies, the production value of this album is remarkable and a pleasant surprise given the group's geography. Titofelix have even managed to conjure some of the charisma that many native-California bands bank on as commodity. The wah-pedal funk on "Salutations" bears resemblance to a pre-rehab Chili Peppers, while the zippy four-chord strum on the title track, "Character Flaw" can be likened to any one of OC's finest pop-punk outfits.
This is not to say that Titofelix are just another pack of wannabes who are long on talent and short on originality. While it is true that just about anyone can follow the checklist and put out a pop song, the emotion and content that they bring separate them from the fold. "Mixed Messages," a lament on the uncertainty of an acquaintance, goes neatly with a clear view of the sunset at the beach. To help one push through a personal loss, "Fall Away" is a good soundtrack for catharsis.
Punching up the tone of the disc, "Import Racing Girl" makes light of the rice-rocket phenomenon prevalent in popular media. Showing some love for hip-hop and R&B, Titofelix give Usher's slow jam "Nice and Slow" the punk rock treatment, while the bonus beat-boxing at the end of "Been Around The World" keeps listeners expecting a straightforward rock album on their toes.
Remaining fresh and upbeat while evading cloying tackiness, Titofelix make for an enjoyable second outing. Their command of emotion coupled with being highly proficient rockers has the potential for broad appeal. Now if only they would make their way again to this corner of the continent.
For more information, please visit Titofelix.com
November 21, 2003