Fang Island - Major
An enigmatic fist pump, a rapturous applause, a shiny star on the front of your homework, Major by Fang Island is a victory for not taking yourself too seriously and for remembering that the roots of adulthood maturity are buried in childhood innocence. It's also a reminder that the best songs are sometimes simply the ones that have the guitar playing as loud as possible.
The success of this album is it's honesty. We are never over-promised anything by Fang Island, so when they over-deliver on several tracks, it's a delight. The opener, 'Kindergarten', is a jaunty piano loop under which foreboding melodies rise and break before singer Jason Bartell ushers us into the band's new album. So we take our seats, cross-legged on the floor, ready for whatever is about to be thrown at us. Major never runs out of steam, and manages to shift up the gears just at the right times, and those worried about the adjusted dynamic of the band (certainly vocals are much more prominent on this release), Fang Island manage to change it up at regular intervals throughout, keeping everything fresh as it hits our eager ears. Album highlight 'Seek It Out' reverberates with feelings of picking up a guitar for the first time and trying to play that rock song you saw on Top of the Pops once, where 'Never Understand' takes what would otherwise be a fairly standard piece of indie-pop, and overlays the melody with punchy guitar riffs, which keeps the song from feeling tired as it buoys along throughout.
'Dooney Rock' is a song I would like to believe would fit well in a remake for the Titanic. Particularly, the scene where Jack and Rose are dancing with the 'lower class' Irish people, and everything is forgotten by our two lovers apart from the music. Without lyrics, it showcases the band's ability to still create a flow to songs without any apparent grounding, normally readily apparent in music like this. This is done so well that when the lyrics return in the next track, 'Regalia', you almost wish they don't, but that whole idea is done away with when 'Regalia' goes from dream pop to crooning rock in a heartbeat. 'Victorinian' brings back the syncopated piano, and ends the album on a high, yet somber note. "What will happen to me if I lose my name?" sings Bartell. With Major, Fang Island have made it hard to imagine they'll ever lose what makes them such a joy to listen to.
Fang Island just want you to have fun, and there's enough here to party all through the summer. Whether that feeling lasts through the winter is really up to how much you want to invest in the album. Luckily there's plenty here to keep you warm.