American quintet’s debut LP is an infectiously excellent set of utmost merriment.
Mike Diver 2010
Rock music has always had an annoying habit of taking itself too seriously. It probably has something to do with the men – and it is usually men – involved being able to both grow beards and read books. A dangerous combo. Too much time is taken analysing art, assessing the spaces we all move through on this great journey into tomorrow’s unknown, blah blah. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes not, but it’s always serious. Seriously serious. Except for Slayer, obviously. Everyone’s in on that particular joke.
So imagine the joy that courses through the veins when something Other Than Serious plonks itself into the stereo and makes with the rolling of good times, be they accompanied by beer and pals or simply enjoyed alone, at home, while wearing just pants and a massive grin. There are a select few acts that have this effect: Andrew W.K. and Trans Am are pretty ace at spreading those great vibrations, and now Brooklyn-based quintet Fang Island have quite, quite brilliantly fused the fervid exuberance of the aforementioned brace of musical mirth-merchants on an eponymous collection that screams, from its first notes: party on, and on, and on, dudes.
So! Imagine it not, friend, and instead come on in and enjoy the sound of a band who describe these delectably dizzying ditties as the aural equivalent of “everyone high-fiving everyone”. Well, that’d make a noise, too, but it’d be as initially annoying/ultimately forgettable as the drone of a few thousand vuvuzelas. This noise, though: it comes courtesy of three guitarists who never feel the need to barf up a boring solo, a bassist who does his best to keep up (and does so, thump-thumping his way around spiralling riffs), and a drummer who must have blisters on his palms the size of golf balls if his efforts here are repeated on stage night after night. It is as-good-as instrumental, vocals restricted mainly to sing/shout-along exclamations of Yes Indeed We’re Having A Great Time, and as instantly refreshing as dunking your head in a paddling pool when it’s 30-plus degrees outside. (That’s Celsius, Fahrenheit folks. If not, that pool’s frozen and our tongues are stuck to the ice.)
Disconnect from this debut album’s infectiously excellent, if unashamedly one-trick, tone of utmost merriment and the music doesn’t really hold up to a great deal of scrutiny. Sure, the players are competent, but they’re not as technically able as some of their Significantly More Serious peers. But to disconnect is to deny yourself the awesome time you deserve. That you’re about to have. So get high-fiving already and make mine a cold one.