Bendigo Fletcher
Fits of Laughter


4.0
excellent

Review

by Sowing STAFF
August 12th, 2021 | 13 replies


Release Date: 08/13/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An accomplished and clever twist on modern indie-rock

Bendigo Fletcher is one of the most talented indie-rock bands around, although you'd be forgiven for not knowing much about them. Despite releasing two albums and two extended plays since 2015, they still haven't broken into the mainstream - a feat that could change after releasing their major label debut, Fits of Laughter, via Elektra. Those who have followed the band since their inception will notice the sonic leap achieved here, as everything sounds cleaner and tighter than ever before. The result is Bendigo Fletcher doing their usual thing - which is to say crafting a melodic, highly entertaining blend of folk and indie-rock - but now on a platform capable of reaching the masses.

Fits of Laughter retains Bendigo Fletcher's penchant for earnest vocals, earworm choruses, and subtly intricate guitarwork. 'Sugar in the Creek' and 'Birding' open this record illustrating all of those qualities, from frontman Ryan Anderson's self-harmonizing falsetto to Andrew Shupert's shimmering electric guitar solo. The impressive thing about Bendigo Fletcher, especially on Fits of Laughter, is how well they fuse quieter, more sensitive folk a la Simon and Garfunkel with a more upbeat brand of indie-rock analogous to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, or maybe even The Shins. It's not a pendulum swing between soft and loud so much as it is a seamless integration, which leads to an album with a totally unified atmosphere.

Although the band primarily hones in on its core sound here, Fits of Laughter isn't without curveballs. The biggest surprise of the album is 'Evergreen', which sees the typically meek Anderson launch into a series of all-out screamed verses on the heels of the chorus. Anyone who has followed Bendigo Fletcher's steady trek through lush and delicate indie-folk will be caught off guard by this, but it will probably also send a smile ear-to-ear as you can hear just how much fun they're having with the song. Elsewhere we get more confident country strides ('Donkey Boy Blues', 'Astro Pup') and hazy, guitar-driven ambience ('Buffalo Rodeo'). It's all a testament to their willingness to experiment, even on a major label debut that could prove to be a litmus test for their future success as a band.

Bendigo Fletcher also aren't afraid to flaunt their quirky lyrics. One of the band's most endearing traits has always been their profound but strange approach to writing, with verses like "We'll collect fallen out teeth in a candy jar / Mice for the backyard peregrine falcon reservation" landing among their weirdest lines and "Sometimes I feel so empty and low / But your eyes prescribe a meaning for everything I do" among their most romantic/heartfelt. Here, we get "I can't sleep on my side anymore / Cause all I want is your hair in my mouth", which is anything but a lyrical trope yet it forces you to empathize with the lonely protagonist. Bendigo Fletcher's persistent dodging of cliches is one of their strongest assets, because it makes every song memorable even where the melodic/instrumental hooks tend to be more subtle.

Those who have not yet delved into Bendigo Fletcher's discography are in for a treat. Fits of Laughter is an excellent gateway to what is perhaps an even richer back catalog (Consensual Wisdom might be a modern folk classic), while taking everything the outfit does well and projecting it to the stars. It's a well-deserved opportunity for a band absolutely brimming with talent. If you're one of the few who've been with Bendigo Fletcher from the beginning, then their arrival to a broader mainstream audience will feel like watching a close friend graduate. Either way you'll be happy, because Bendigo Fletcher have put their best foot forward with this accomplished and clever twist on modern indie-rock.



s
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
August 12th 2021


3227 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hadn't realized this was out tomorrow! Definitely excited for it, Memory Fever is still my favorite of theirs

WatchItExplode
August 12th 2021


9482 Comments


"profound but strange" - yeah it me

When that falsetto hits I definitely get Shins vibes.

Asura14
August 13th 2021


426 Comments


Ok, this review got me intrigued, looking forward to giving this a spin

Digging: Blood Red Shoes - GHOSTS ON TAPE

NorthernSkylark
August 13th 2021


11946 Comments


Never heard of them. Where to start sunny boy?

Digging: Daniel Rossen - Silent Hour/Golden Mile

Sowing
Moderator
August 13th 2021


40019 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I still prefer Consensual Wisdom. It's folksier but I think it's their best album.

This is great too, though.

NorthernSkylark
August 13th 2021


11946 Comments


Are you fresh out of cigarettes?

NorthernSkylark
August 13th 2021


11946 Comments


Just heard their debut and yeah it’s really really good. Will check the rest soon.

anat
August 14th 2021


4472 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

seems like an amalgamation of various established acts but it's enjoyable. i hear a lot of michael hadreas, actually

Sowing
Moderator
August 16th 2021


40019 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Just heard their debut and yeah it’s really really good. Will check the rest soon."

Yeah, that's definitely their strongest release. It's got a charm to it that has faded with ensuing albums and EPs. Everything they do is good or better, though, so let me know if anything else in their catalog captures your interest. For me it goes Consensual Wisdom > Self-Titled EP > Fits of Laughter > Memory Fever = Terminally Wild EP



"seems like an amalgamation of various established acts but it's enjoyable. i hear a lot of michael hadreas, actually"

Maybe a very scaled down Perfume Genius IMO, and only at certain times, but I'm glad you enjoyed. As you might have seen in skimming the other comments Consensual Wisdom is also well worth your time.

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2021


3227 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Excited to spin this for the first time today!



Sowing, weirdly enough Memory Fever followed by Terminally Wild are their releases I've gotten most into as of yet. I like them all though.

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2021


3227 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Birding rules hard

Sowing
Moderator
August 16th 2021


40019 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah I love the quirky/weird chorus, and the guitar solo was a tad unexpected but a nice touch

Sowing
Moderator
December 11th 2021


40019 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Band continues to fly well under the radar. Hope they get their due eventually.



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