MONDAY, AUGUST 06, 2012 |
Posted by: Amanda Scherker
The way the band Fang Island got its name is fitting. The musicians read the phrase "Fang Island" in an Onion article, and decided that it sounded just like the imaginary land where their music should to be played. Insightful choice, indeed; as their other-worldly, fantasy land-aesthetic is what makes the band simultaneously enchanting and a bit frustrating. Their child-like air of the ecstatic permeates their most recent album, Major sometimes with better results than others. Their lyrics are simple, and rely on lots of repetition, which isn't always necessary a bad thing. The track "I Wanna Understand" ends up being one of the simplest and best -- the looping is particularly pleasing to the ear.
The inevitable downside of living in a fairytale? It means that Fang Island's music is the acoustic equivalent of a big 'ole neon mess of colors, awesome and beautiful for a while, but blinding and repetitive after you've peered for too long. Their escapism also means that their songs, by necessity, lack the necessary element of human vulnerability that all truly great musicians provides. They cling steadfastly to a children's land of make-believe, even starting off the album declaring "Everything I know I learned in kindergarten," but not even child-like innocence should feel immune to fear and sadness. The album meanders through cheery meadows and gets lost in imaginary places. So, ultimately, it kind of loses itself. That won't stop it from making you smile, though.