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Fang Island

Fang Island

(Sargent House; US: 23 Feb 2010; UK: import)

Fang Island come out swinging on their eponymous second record. These guys can stun you with huge and spot-on vocal harmonies, or they can barrel you over with their tight guitar heroics. And they do both in spades here, though the guitars get a lot more play than the vocals. Songs like “Careful Crossers”, “Daisy”, and “Welcome Wagon” surge with energy, churning with chords that lay a nervy foundation for the towering guitar solos and stringy riffs that sprint through these songs. “Daisy” is perhaps the best offering here—along with the expansive “Davey Crockett” later in the record—as it combines that thundering rock with those sweet harmonies, and the interplay is brilliant. Often, though, they separate the two, using the harmonies to let us catch our breath between catchy rock assaults. It’s an effective enough move, but the moments we see them together are when Fang Island truly shines. On this mostly instrumental record, that doesn’t happen often enough. If these guys get even a little closer to striking that balance, though, they may turn out to be one of the next great rock bands, period.

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Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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23 Jul 2012
Fang Island mold an album's worth of catchy tunes from an unlikely blend of retro kitsch, music nerd obfuscation and hard rocking machismo.
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