Best New Recording (2011)

Survival Story

Whether intentional or incidental, it seems pretty telling — and ironic — that Universal Records and Flobots parted ways after Survival Story, a thematic, far more carefully crafted and considered (not to mention better-sounding) album than its predecessor, Fight With Tools, which introduced the band to the masses and propelled its creators to fame based largely on the strength of the "Handlebars" single. But Flobots were always about more than just one catchy song, and this album bears that out, from the lyrics to the hidden cross-references to the stunning cover art created by Jonathan Till. What it didn't have, unfortunately, was another breakout single — and that, it seems, was a deal-breaker for the label. Style clearly trumps substance these days at the majors. The odds of surviving with that sort of superficial approach? Bleak, at best.

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