Fang Island-Fang Island

2010; Sargent House Records

This is going to be a pretty short review. I'll explain why in a moment.

I think that the problem with most "happy" music-rock in particular-is that it forgets to have intensity of any sort. In attempting to get a smile out of the listener, it kind of loses its drive and power and is just sort of content to sit there.

This is not the case with Fang Island's self-titled debut. It positively crackles with electricity from start to finish, largely because of its streamlined indie rock meets math rock aesthetic. The group is labeled as "progressive rock" on Wikipedia, and I don't think that's quite accurate. While there are certainly progressive elements, this is an indie group to the very core. Listen to "Daisy", the first single and best song on the album, if you have any doubt that this band's priority is, first and foremost, delivering a good time to the listener.

And once again, the "rock" aspect of the progressive/indie rock label of the band is constantly evident. The guitar work may not technically be incredibly complex, but it's played with an energy that's joyous but also very tight, letting the synths and the chorale-esque vocal work carry just as much of the weight. And as rare as it is to find a good drummer in this genre, most of the drumlines can only be described as explosive. It's tempting to say that this music bursts, but it doesn't exactly. Everything is very coordinated, almost restrained, adding to the "electrical" feel of the album.

I mentioned earlier that this was going to be a pretty short review, and I'll tell you why: Fang Island, similar to Passion Pit before them(but far less embarrassing) have created an album that's close to critic proof, as much as I hate that phrase. I bought Fang Island the week it came out, and since then I've been struggling to write a review for it. This is music that's very hard to describe in professional terms, because it really wasn't built to be discussed, or listened to, in that capacity. To quote the band's website, this is "music for people who like music". This is an album that was designed specifically to get a purely emotional reaction of the most positive kind out of the listener, and it accomplishes that in spades. What I will say is that I think it's funny that I heard this album at the same time I was lamenting the modern state of both prog rock and indie rock, since Fang Island is a group that takes all the current problems with both of these very different genres and, miraculously, manages to kick both of them in the balls.

Here's the bottom line: You'll probably like this album. Hear it.


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