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Dallas-based Formal Method brings 'new school rock'

March 5, 2003

By Lauren Caldwell

What a band wants isn't always what a band gets, or gives.

Formal Method, a young band based out of Dallas, played at Treff's Saturday night.

After coming on stage for five minutes' worth of sound checking at their 10 p.m. scheduled start time, the band took almost an hour break to eat and casually talk with family members, leaving the group who had gathered at the stage a bit confused.

At 11 p.m. the band finally took the stage again, and luckily was able to regain the crowd they had earlier near the stage.

With a clear sound and a passionate voice from front man Justin Smith, the only thing missing from 1-year-old Formal Method is stage presence and professional attitude.

Songs such as 'Once' from their self-made, four-song demo Sno Cones and a Bowl gives reason not to write them off just yet.

Smith has a voice comparable to a rough Brandon Boyd, and the rest of the band backs up their obvious Incubus influence. Smith wails, free-styles and harmonizes while Daniel Bornhorst and Paul White on guitars provide a strong background and even steal the scene at times.

Not wanting to be tagged as a 'Dallas band,' claiming that 'there is nothing genuine in Dallas,' Formal Method has been working up and down Interstate 35.

The band has played venues such as Dallas' Curtain Club and Austin's Red Eye Fly and has landed a slot in the South by Southwest festivities. The band also has two shows scheduled during spring break in South Padre Island at The Oasis.

The band is now in pre-production for their first full-length album of which they have about eight tracks ready to record.

While the group claims they are 'new school rock,' they are hoping the recording of their album will bring them closer to tightly defining their own sound.

'Right now we are really just trying to combine and write,' Smith said. 'In rock music there are typically two sounds, 'clean' or 'dirty.' We're trying to break away from that and make our sound dynamic.'

These young starry-eyed and hopeful band members range in ages from 19 to 23.

'Just playing in front of people is more than anything else I could ever want,' bass player Matt Mynatt said.

High hopes and strong key musical elements prove that Formal Method, although still a young band in need of refinement and onstage personality, is still a band with potential to rise up the local music ranks.