Brooklyn quintet, Fang Island met at Rhode Island School of Design much like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Les Savy Fav, Lightning Bolt, and the Talking Heads. While Fang Island may not have much in common sound wise with any of these bands, its cool to be mentioned in the same conversation as any of them. On Fang Island’s self-titled third release, they continue making complex party anthems.
The fact is until the turn of the millennium, party music was consider to be made by stupid people for stupid people. That all changed with Andrew W.K. who was the first person to appeal to the frat boy as well as the hipster. Since then a plethora of bands including Oxford Collapse and more recently, Surfer Blood have bridged that gap. Fang Island is really no different.
Fang Island’s music is filled with mid-tempo fist pumping guitars, 8-bit keyboard sounds, chanted vocals, and Fleet Foxes-style harmonies. The result is something that can be accepted by arena dwellers at a Celtics’ game as well as a crowd at Williamsburg.
“The Illinois” bridges the gap between the musicianship of the Fucking Champs and the vocal stylings of Local Natives. “Davey Crockett” offers the classic rock guitar soloing of Boston with the vocal that remind me of Jefferson Starship. “Welcome Wagon” has a more Lagwagon-esque punk feel but the song is completely instrumental.
Usually at the end of a mostly positive review, I like to explore some of the faults of the album but there is so little wrong with Fang Island. What’s not to love about intelligent party jams? Nothing! And Fang Island seems to operate by the adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” because they rarely stray from their winning formula. With that said, I am not giving the album a perfect score. There are still one or two songs that have slight weaknesses that keep me from believing this album is perfect, but this album is closest I’ve heard to a perfect album in a long while.