It’s impossible to come away from Major without a big grin plastered from ear to ear.
Mike Diver 2012
Fang Island make cheesy riffs and top-of-your-voice sing-alongs seem the most vital musical elements, ever. Their unabashed enthusiasm for all-embracing, utterly accessible noise-with-pop-nous is incredibly endearing – it’s (probably scientifically) impossible to come away from Major without a big dumb grin plastered from ear to ear.
Major is the Rhode Island outfit’s second album. Their first, an eponymous set released in 2010, was the kind of problems-forgetting collection that scooped its audience up and tumbled them around like each set of ears was cocooned within a wildly bouncing zorb. These 11 tracks pull off similar tricks – albeit not instantly. Kindergarten is an unexpected opener, its dominant constituent a piano. Yet its elegantly simple lyricism – “All I know / I learned in / Kindergarten,” goes its central refrain – is completely in tune with the unadulterated thrills that follow.
Sisterly immediately injects some amplified six-string adrenaline. It’s like the most euphoric moments of Weezer’s catalogue – those times when Rivers is singing about being awesome, rather than getting dumped – rolled into a single, sub-four-minute package. And Major repeats this feat, of delivering fist-punching tracks of triumphantly transcendental tumult, several times.
Seek it Out threatens to be a Russian Circles-like monster of heaviness; but these savvy musicians soon click into pop-minded gear to establish an easily identifiable verse-chorus-verse structure that, while creatively unadventurous, is powered by rocket fuel. Dooney Rock is a rather different proposition, something like a (completely incongruous) Irish jig scene in a Paul Verhoeven sci-fi flick, the musicians sporting reel shoes down south and mohawks up top.
Odd electronic trumpets spurt from Regalia; Chime Out is sludge-rock scattered with diamonds; and Never Understand is surely the lost titles music to a summer holiday sit-com (Pugwall, anyone?). So while Major plays up to the strengths of its predecessor, it also showcases vocal development and keeps the familiar listener guessing. That, and it manages to pull the most ridiculously OTT moves throughout.
Guitars behind backs, hips thrust forwards: these are the images that leap to mind. While down front, the most celebratory, cuddles-all-round circle pit ever seen breaks out under rainbow strobes.