One does not simply “review” a Fang Island record.
It’s just too damn hard to remain a “music journalist” (whatever that means) while listening to their brand of party rock.
At some point, even the staunchest, nitpicky-est music snob will be swept up in the band’s dynamic guitar fuzz, hypnotic group vocals, and “good-naturedness” to find anything to critique.
That’s what happened with their 2010 debut (which I adored), and it took place again with their new effort, the appropriately-titled Major.
Released next week, Major picks up where the self-titled left off, but incorporates even more layers into their all-encompassing sound: there’s more percussion and pianos this time around, and the effect is as joyous and good-natured as Andrew W.K.’s irresistible (and, I’d argue, timeless) 2001 opus I Get Wet, the benchmark of all “feel-good rock ‘n’ roll” to come out of the past fifteen years.
Not that Fang Island are playing hard-charging party anthems – their brand of musical positivity is slightly less in-your-face. Instead, it stars blissful guitars matched to staccato piano plucks (such as on opener Kindergarten), bouncy riffs that break into epic guitar jams (lead single Sisterly), and a powerful sense of carefree attitudes. Just listen to the beginning of Make Me, as the guitars sputter to life and begin elevating everything skyward, and tell me you don’t crack a smile.
Enough words – here’s Asunder:
This is an album you should listen to when you’re feeling down – think of it as the musical equivalent of a Chicken Soup for the Soul, but with meatier riffs and catchier melodies.
Plus, there’s even an Irish-themed barroom stomp called Dooney Rock that takes me back to my nights in Dublin & Galway in January 2007. If only this soundtrack had existed then…
But seriously (and I’m trying to be as impartial as possible here) Major is an excellent, consistently entertaining follow-up to what was a great debut. I was cautious with my expectation for Major, given how much I enjoyed the debut, but this album blasts to bits any concept of the dreaded ‘sophomore slump’.
I’d recommend this album to anyone fond of the following: high fives, looking at puppies, comfort food, receiving (and/or giving) hugs, and the feeling after you beat a tough boss level in a video game.