Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Brett Allen at Mr. & Mrs. T and Rachael Ray's Feedback Festival
A room could be colder than cold - dead and unwelcoming - and that would all change the second that Brooklyn's Fang Island stepped into it and began playing. It would be an immediate transformation into some kind of late summer day, when the oppressive heat has retired for the time being, but the backyard pool is practically a bath and begging for someone, anyone to dive on in, to make a huge cannonball splash, disrupting all normalcy. The group turns a room into a festive drink, something on the rocks and absolutely thirst-quenching - just what the doctor or the amateur alcoholic ordered. It makes music that has balls and a stiff kick, and also a little umbrella poking out of the side of the glass. With such a bombastic punch, Fang Island melds together royally, hugely guitared classic rock, with all kinds of prog, a hundred varieties of sunshine-y pop and comes out on the other side with something that resembles Rush, Andrew W.K.'s mad party torrents on "I Get Wet," and in a not so obvious way, the kind of anthems that the Beach Boys made with "I Get Around" and "Barbara Ann." It's a dynamic mashing of decades of disparate musical inspirations, churned into a sound that billows and storms, blows roofs off of houses and still has enough left over to get everyone within a 10-mile radius to sing and chant along with them as they sing, "They are all within my reach/They are free," and then everything get thundering and smoking. Fang Island must be loud. It must be big and bold and it's at that very moment when they exceed beyond instruments and words. It becomes something capable of altering moods, of changing weather and clearing dark clouds completely away and out of the forecast. The album starts with a song called "Dreams of Dreams," a woozy build-up for an explosion that features an almost all-instrumental composition (save for the repeated bit of lyric referenced above) with the sound of bottle rockets and other firecrackers being set off in a chilled setting. As the song comes to a conclusion, "Careful Crossers," gets fired up and brings us into the band's wheelhouse. This hurried set happened at the end of our time with the Rachael Ray party that we helped book at Stubbs BBQ in Austin, Texas, during the South By Southwest festival in March and the band quickly established that it was an amusement park of sonic delights, never overwhelming with volume, while still being loud as hell. It never created sludge, but created highlights for all of its various strengths - the ferocious banging of its metal-haired drummer, the intricate and coursing synth sounds, its melodious everybody-sing-along choruses and its shredding guitar lines. It should be overload, but it's nowhere near. You just want your head encapsulated or pickled in the sound, for as long as you shall live.