Fang Island: Major (Sargent House)
Release: 24th July (US), 30th July (UK)
American Indie band Fang Island started in 2005 with the intent to “make music for people who like music.”Â Have they succeeded? Our reviewer Maren McGlashan definitely “likes music” so read on to find out.
In 2010, Fang Island’s self-titled disc won the band praise from an assortment of critics, a slew of new fans, and a reputation for being one of the most optimistic bands around. With a sonically dense, guitar-heavy style, the band married a unique brand of power rock with a breezy indie vibe. The band’s latest release is an eleven track effort titled Major, which builds upon the original sound of Fang Island and propels it into a new direction. Overall, the band’s trademark sound ensues, but a newfound prog-rock attitude snags the spotlight.
Although there are many similarities between Major and Fang Island’s self-titled album, the sound of the band has undergone a few stylistic changes. Depending on whether you’re a fan of prog-rock sounds or prefer tightly structured songs, this could be to your liking or aversion. “Chompers,”Â for example, runs nearly three minutes and features the most sunny, jubilant guitar solo imaginable – but little else structurally. Although not every track on the album follows this pattern, rolling solos can be expected within many songs on Major. Such sounds were also present on 2010’s Fang Island release, though the free form instrumentation feels, perhaps, more indulgent here.
That being said, there are tracks on Major that certainly appeal to any indie connoisseur, jamming-opinions aside. Most of the material works well, with songs being incredibly fun, structurally complex and sonically gusty. “Sisterly,”Â which was previously released as a single, is a standout, energetic and exciting tune. There’s also “Seek It Out,”Â which is a hefty, explosive track best fit for playing at loud volumes. “Asunder,”Â which is perhaps the most progressive sounding track the record, recalls 1970s bands like Yes or Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but also plays with contemporary garage rock sensibilities. Then there’s “Never Understand”Â and “Regalia,”Â whose sounds are fuzzy and feel-good, and greatly align with any track from Fang Island’s self-titled CD.
Major seems to be created for celebration, festivities, warm weather and all things positive. The disc packs a definite punch, and, although the wind-up is there, it hits a little softly – and I mean that positively. These songs aren’t your typical hard rock n’ roll; instead, they present a poppy type of alternative rock whose layered sound is like a tsunami of noise. In eleven tracks – somewhere within the nine sandwiched between the album’s intro (Kingergarten) and outro (Victorinian) – ÃÂ could be the song that defines the joy and freedom of your summer days.
The digital version of the album can be listened to / bought from Fang Islands bandcamp page here.
All words by Maren McGlashan. You can read more from Maren on LTW here.