Review Summary: This is how you make feel good music.
I’ll admit, from the moment I read that Fang Island described their own music as “everyone high-fiving everyone”, I was sold. Though band members don’t have the best track record of reliability when it comes to judging their own music (Oasis called Heathen Chemistry their “second best album”), let me (in all my authority) put that into fact: Fang Island could soundtrack that frozen-frame, silhouette skyline, mid-air high five that would turn your life into an awesome ‘80s buddy movie.
Though occasionally featuring oohs, aahs and higher-pitched gang vocals to set the songs on their way, Fang Island is fuelled by a band whose talents are channeled into creating music that bursts at the seams with a tremendous sense of positivity. Clocking in at just 30-minutes playtime, they waste no time getting into things, bursting to life from the get go and continuing at that busy, no pit stops pace for most of the record. The occasional moments it slows down, such as the uplifting, high-note guitar melody in the second half of “Sideswiper”, are made all the more effective by their rarity.
With a line up featuring three guitarists, it’s not a surprise it’s one of the most exciting aspects of their music. Though the band in general, including the drummer and bassist, are extremely tight, it’s the way the guitarists harmonize with a hyper, optimistic zest, sometimes accompanied by synths, that propel their unique, irresistible sense of exuberance one step further. There isn't a song here that isn't soaked in suger-fuelled feel good excitement. These are the kids mom kept away from the fruit loops.
Like the guy who first took an apple and dipped it in caramel, Fang Island are firm believers that when you find something good, you can make it better. As “Davey Crockett” shows us, sometimes it isn’t just enough to have a juicy duel riff, you might need some gang vocals too, and when those gang vocals kick in, they need to get louder, and when they get louder, the drumming needs to get bigger, and when the drumming is big and brash, you need the guitars to get positively titanic
, and then once you have this large, wailing, magnificent wall of sound, what good would it all be if you didn’t add handclaps?
Whatever it is that’s inspired so much joy in their music, I hope it continues. In this era of darkly clad, angsty teens, Harley-buying midlife crisis fathers, and pill-popping, lonely housewives, it’s time to skip the Prozac; Fang Island will brighten your day.