Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fang Island bares teeth with energetic rock anthems

Genre: Indie/Rock
Sargent House
Running Time: 31:27

One of the great things about music is its ability to express emotion.

Many of us love to absorb the beauty that a cold, dissonant Radiohead album can provide, or take in the sonic dreariness of Deerhunter, but let's not forget the other end of the spectrum.

What about the days when the sun is shining, the air is crackling, and everything is right with the world? With their self-titled debut album, Fang Island has crafted music to get you pumped up. Fang Island can serve as your soundtrack to kicking down doors, eating cold ice cream on a summer day, and just generally being awesome.

The triple guitar assualt of Jason Bartell, Chris Georges, and Nicholas Andrew Sadler churn out a sublimely energtic brand of indie rock designed to get your fist pumping and your foot stomping.

The opening track, "Dream of Dreams," is more of an intro, but it does a good job of introducing what the band is about. The guitars sound more like keyboards sometimes, which provides the group with another layer of depth. (For that matter, I'm not entirely convinced there aren't actual keyboards lurking somewhere in the mix).

The following track, "Careful Crossers," however, is what really introduces what the band is all about. The vitriolic guitar playing exudes a sense of energy and good times. Drummer Marc St. Sauveur tears it up on the entire album, but he just goes nuts on this song.

Fang Island prove they're very proficient in constructing great riffs, as "Life Coach" and "Welcome Wagon" demonstrate. Elsewhere, "Treeton" has a nice bouncy aesthetic, but the album's real standout is "Sideswiper."

The song starts out with a yet another distinctive riff before settling into a energetic rock awesomeness. What really makes the track is the awesome guitar lead near the end of the song.

It starts off with super fast tremolo strumming, then carries the song to its power packed conclusion. It sounds like a Radiohead guitar lead, with the tremolo strumming reminding me particularly of Creep. A buzzing bass line delivered by Michael Jacober propels things forward, along with more great drumming.

"Davey Crockett" is an interesting diversion from the band's formula. It starts off slow paced and stays that way for the most part, while still building a sense of energy from the synth-like guitar lines.

I'm not a big fan of the band's vocal style. They're mostly group shout-alongs with an emphasis on chanting. Most of the lyrics are nothing really special either. Granted, vocals aren't what this band is about, but they should really look into doing something about those vocal arrangements.

It's very refreshing to hear a band from the indie scene who places focus on instrumentation, particularly on the drums, and Fang Island has managed to do just that. Having three guitars allows the band to create multiple layers to their music, as the ending to "Sideswiper" displays so nicely.

Sometimes I found my attention fading in and out a little bit. The progressive elements of the music do cause the band to drift a little bit a times. But they mix it up enough to keep things interesting, and Fang Island comes off as the perfect album for anybody just looking to have a good time.

Score: 81/100

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