Times change, and as time progresses so do trends. Apart from a short spell in late 90’s and late 00’s ska has never really been a ‘trendy’ genre, especially with fans of more mainstream music. This is a shame really, as it is an incredibly fun genre and many are missing out. Here in the UK we currently have a pretty darn good ska scene- in fact, to an extent, we always have. In the 80’s the UK could boast the likes of two-tone specialists such as Madness and The Specials; now in the 21st century we can boast the likes of Capdown and Adequate Seven (both R.I.P.), as well as The King Blues and Sonic Boom Six, who are both thankfully alive and well. Another band that you can add to this list are Surrey mob Fandangle.
Now in their eighth year, they have had a quietly successful career releasing a handful of EPs and two full-length albums as well as touring with bigger bands such as Reel Big Fish, Zebrahead, Big D & The Kids Table and more recently, Less Than Jake. On Track 3 of this three-track EP, ‘Bad Infection’
, the Gainesville native’s influence is clear, as the bass bounces appropriately and the trading off of vocals between lead vocalists Adam and Tom instantly recalls LTJ’s Roger and Chris. Irresistibly catchy and chirpy it is a very fun song, and the best on ‘Suburban Nights’. That’s not to say that the other two tracks are bad, because they are not
EP opener ‘Sic’
sounds like Streetlight Manifesto with more two-tone influence. The chorus’ vocals are largely incomprehensible but that is of little importance as it sounds great regardless. There are two solos in the track – drums and trombone. The drum solo seems completely out of place and is really the only thing wrong with a great song; the trombone solo meanwhile fits right in and is brilliantly executed.
While Fandangle largely resemble their ska influences this EP is a still diverse (within the ska genre) across its 10 minute duration. Middle track ‘Fubar’
nods at defunct fellow Brits Adequate Seven’s more furious ska-core moments with its urgent yells of “we’re running out of time!” It is fast and furious, and most importantly is thoroughly enjoyable with its anthemic “woah”s throughout the song. An accomplished guitar solo progresses the song into sing-a-long territory as the Trumpet, Sax and Trombone duel fervently for attention.
Overall, ‘Suburban Nights’ is an EP which is impossibly hard to dislike. Throughout it is possible, easy even, to identify Fandangle’s various influences, but at the same time they make it their own with a rawer sound than their idols. As mentioned in the first paragraph, Fandangle have had a “quietly successful career”, supporting a growing list of big bands and releasing two albums – the last of which featured guest spots from members of Reel Big Fish and Green Day. With friends like these it is a mystery how they have gone under most people’s radars. But to be honest, you shouldn’t give them a listen because of who they know, you should give them a listen because they are a great band in their own right.