It turns out that vocals can sometimes make or break an album. Fang Island, who is responsible for one of 2010’s best records, had to start out somewhere. Their first full length titled Day of the Great Leap is good, but doesn’t quite give you the warmth of their self titled sophomore album. The album starts out with some fantastic, sporadic and infectious melodies on “Intro.” Most of the instrument work on here is quite simple, but “We Were Lions” does find itself as the best and most technical song on the album. There is a huge absence of vocals on this record, which is the only thing that really keeps this album from soaring to greatness, like their self titled effort. While their music is self described as “everyone high fiving everyone” this album isn't so; it's still upbeat and happy, but almost has a slumberous quality.
All of the songs are structured the same and sound pretty identical minus the group vocal melodies. Some of the songs almost have a post-rock quality in them; they start out slow, hit their peak and then descend downwards. The honest feel of this album is an unsure, testy feeling, almost as if Fang Island wasn’t sure this would work when they recorded it. There is one group melody real quick at the end of “S.S. Fort Jams” which is arguably one of the best song names ever. Just as their other efforts, this album falls under the category of “feel good” music. There is even some electronic experimentation in the album at the beginning of “Tickle Mountain” which sounds like a snipet of a Nintendo soundtrack. Fang Island can brighten your day even with a couple two minute songs made from just a bunch of guys jamming out. With the length almost ten minutes shorter than their other album, Day of the Great Leap is still worth your while even if it doesn’t measure up to the greatness that is their most recent effort.
I can see how if the self titled was your first exposure to the band you might not dig the less polished production on this record, but the overall sound and vibe on this and that of the ep is more of a jam session much like thier live shows. Hands down this album and their ep are so much better than their self titled, which is also amazing.
Brooklyn based outfit Fang Island fascinate with their debut 8 track release 'Day of the Great Leap'. Independently released, the quintet play a predominantly instrumental fusion of indie-pop & prog-rock, with its 3-way guitar attack leading the way. At under 24 minutes in length, the record never lags, lending it a sense of diversity. Furthermore, the band manage to imbue an uplifting sense of exuberance which is rare in such instrumental music. Sure, the production could be sharper & many songs clearly could be fleshed out better, but all-in-all this is a promising debut. Recommended Tracks: We Were Lions, The Landing & Meateater.