Monday, June 17, 2013


The band describes their sound as "everyone high-fiving everyone"
 - from Fang Island's Wikipedia Page
As the right-hand side of my blog suggests, I've been listening to Fang Island quite a lot recently. I came across them while I was searching for something similar to Titus Andronicus, and while their song Asunder wasn't quite as...wordy as anything from The Monitor, it still grabbed me pretty hard. Have a listen:

One hearing was enough to lodge the thing deep in my brain. Asunder's blistering pace and celebratory sound compelled me to find out more, and so at the next available opportunity I popped down to Spillers Records and asked if they had the album. They didn't, but they were kind enough to put in an order and, one week later, I was the proud owner of Major by Fang Island.

I've often bought albums on the strength of one track alone, and I've often been disappointed to find that the rest of the album isn't up to the same standard. This, thankfully, was not the case with Major. Now that I've spent some time with the record as a whole, Asunder is far from my favourite track on there. It might not even be in my top three.

Instead, I've found myself rather smitten with Make Me. It's got several severely sweet guitar hooks, and a chorus that I can't help but shout along to, even though I've no idea what the words are. Sadly, I can't find a non-live version of it on YouTube, so here's another highlight instead:

That was Never Understand, another track that you'll be struggling to forget for a while now. The whole album is packed with that kind of excellent (and, crucially, unpretentious) melody-making; if you like guitar music, you owe yourself this LP. The one criticism I could level at Major is a complaint that it's difficult to hear what they're singing sometimes, and I think it's fair to say that rousing songs like these deserve to have their every lyric learned by heart and yelled along with the CD as the listener jumps around his bedroom. But this is a guitar album (with occasional piano bits), and the vocals clearly aren't meant to be the main focus, so perhaps we should concentrate on accurately air-guitaring the riffs instead of committing the words to memory. Besides, you don't need to hear every syllable they sing; just hearing the word 'weekend' poke through the riffs in Make Me is enough to lift the whole song to another level of euphoria.

Annoyingly enough, I'm now into the sixth paragraph of this little review thing and I don't feel I've said anything that wasn't summed up in than the half-sentence I culled from Wikipedia at the start. In the film of your life, this is the music that plays every time you do something right, and if that doesn't sell you on Fang Island then I don't know if anything will.

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