Music

Fiver: Here It Comes

Jason Thompson

Fiver

Here It Comes

Label: Future Farmer
US Release Date: 2002-04-16
Amazon
iTunes

Having listened to Fiver's newest release Here It Comes a number of times now, I can only say that I must be missing out on whatever it is that makes these guys a decent draw over in England and attract a small but strong audience here in the States. Some things are often not easily explained when it comes to bands and their popularity, and so it is with myself and Fiver.

The band is comprised of various members of other groups such as Sparklehorse, Wheat, and Grandaddy. Featuring David Woods on vocals and guitar, Chris Doud on guitar, Ryan Coscia on drums, Andrew Bland on bass, and Sean Duncan on keyboards, Fiver creates a sound that disjointedly light to say the least. There are hints of some kind of long lost alt-rock in their sound, but it becomes lost in the thin atmosphere of the musical ideas that the band turns out.

Frankly, I just don't like David Woody's voice. He has one of those floating types of singing styles that barely registers any volume. When he double tracks his voice, he often can't sing with himself in the same key, making for a bit of dissonance that is ultimately too frustrating to have to sit through over the course of an entire album, let alone one song. Add to that Woody's penchant for singing various "da das" and "dum dums" and repeating certain lines in his already uninteresting lyrics, and you have cause for playing something else. Something better.

The first song, "Speeds of Light" sounds like Fiver is trying to ape Stereolab with its awkward guitar riff and Woody's robotic vocals at the beginning. In fact, one might mistake Woody for a female vocalist, as his register tends to warrant such an assumption. But apart from a Stereolab framework (and a regrettably weak one at that), there's not much here to stand on, other than the dry sound of Ryan Coscia's drums that sound like they may fall apart at any moment.

Fiver tends to repeat varying degrees of this formula, although they slide more towards the generic alternative side of the road further on into the album. It might be interesting if the group could bother itself to pick up the pace here and there, but Woody and pals seem to be content with navel gazing in the middle of the road, their tempos staying at a light trot. It's the kind of thing that mars songs like "Goner" and "Queen X", though it may also simply be that these songs lack any overall punch altogether. Fiver seems reluctant to let its listeners in to their sound, as if they were playing in a closet with their backs to the door.

This sleepy insular mindset traps songs like "Warriors" and "Desires of the Lazer Age" into a monotonous sound, the band locking into a sloppy groove and Woody wailing away breathlessly. This stuff is bound to make one listless before it's all over. However, the band almost breaks out of its cotton coccoon on the almost decent "O Fearless One" that actually has a bit of a bottom to it and a hint of a groove. If only it didn't contain Woody's dippy ruminations, it might have stood a good chance of being almost listenable.

Suffice it to say that Fiver is one of those twee bands that will surely have a firm clutch of supporters who are into the kind of nonsense that other bands such as Belle & Sebastian like to record. However, Fiver is more akin to the B&S splinter group Looper, another act that can manage to squeeze the life out of any party whenever their music is played. Here It Comes may have found favor in small pockets, but it's hard to imagine this band making any serious waves outside the underground.

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less
Culture

Net Neutrality and the Music Ecosystem: Defending the Last Mile

Still from Whiplash (2014) (Photo by Daniel McFadden - © Courtesy of Sundance Institute) (IMDB)

"...when the history books get written about this era, they'll show that the music community recognized the potential impacts and were strong leaders." An interview with Kevin Erickson of Future of Music Coalition.

Last week, the musician Phil Elverum, a.k.a. Mount Eerie, celebrated the fact that his album A Crow Looked at Me had been ranked #3 on the New York Times' Best of 2017 list. You might expect that high praise from the prestigious newspaper would result in a significant spike in album sales. In a tweet, Elverum divulged that since making the list, he'd sold…six. Six copies.

Keep reading... Show less

Under the lens of cultural and historical context, as well as understanding the reflective nature of popular culture, it's hard not to read this film as a cautionary tale about the limitations of isolationism.

I recently spoke to a class full of students about Plato's "Allegory of the Cave". Actually, I mentioned Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" by prefacing that I understood the likelihood that no one had read it. Fortunately, two students had, which brought mild temporary relief. In an effort to close the gap of understanding (perhaps more a canyon or uncanny valley) I made the popular quick comparison between Plato's often cited work and the Wachowski siblings' cinema spectacle, The Matrix. What I didn't anticipate in that moment was complete and utter dissociation observable in collective wide-eyed stares. Example by comparison lost. Not a single student in a class of undergraduates had partaken of The Matrix in all its Dystopic future shock and CGI kung fu technobabble philosophy. My muted response in that moment: Whoa!

Keep reading... Show less
9
Books

'The Art of Confession' Ties Together Threads of Performance

Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell at St. Mark's Church in New York City, 23 February 1977

Scholar Christopher Grobe crafts a series of individually satisfying case studies, then shows the strong threads between confessional poetry, performance art, and reality television, with stops along the way.

Tracing a thread from Robert Lowell to reality TV seems like an ominous task, and it is one that Christopher Grobe tackles by laying out several intertwining threads. The history of an idea, like confession, is only linear when we want to create a sensible structure, the "one damn thing after the next" that is the standing critique of creating historical accounts. The organization Grobe employs helps sensemaking.

Keep reading... Show less
9
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image