What We’re Hearing: Fang Island’s “Major”

You won’t find a review of Providence, RI’s Fang Island that does not quote the band themselves saying that their music is the sound of “everyone high-fiving everyone”, but don’t blame the critics. While this feels like the ultimate in Wikipedia-cribbing Criticism Lite, the fact remains that there’s simply no better way to describe the music that Fang Island makes.

Their first, self-titled long-player dropped in 2010, but felt like a lost gem from a decade earlier, the perfect fusion of Andrew WK’s “Party Hard” positivism and the post-hardcore instrumental prog being produced at the turn of the century by bands like Don Caballero and Trans Am.  But if Fang Island was the sound of everyone high-fiving, Major, out today week on Sargent House records, evokes a simpler, more childlike exuberance, recess on a sunny afternoon, “Duck Duck Goose” in a carpeted rec room.

The simple, repeated lyrics are an invitation to sing along and smile, and when the guitars kick in, they’re as fuzzed out and acrobatic as ever.  The thrills aren’t as immediate as their previous records, but by slowing things down and shifting emphasis to a single, fragile voice, the band gives the listener more of a personal stake in the proceedings, and the dividends compound with each spin.

If you’re into the physical artifact, you can pick up Major today at your local record store or directly from the band at one of their upcoming live dates.  If you’re more into ones and zeroes, stream the full album and purchase your download from Bandcamp. ^Mike

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