The first clue that Fang Island are up to something big on the aptly titled Major occurs right out of the gate. “Kindergarten,” the album’s opener, starts with a grandiose introduction bearing a loud and mesmerizing piano loop reminiscent of Menomena’s ornate art pop. Immediately, Fang Island plunge into some heavy riffs and tasty licks, just enough to get the listener’s head spinning. And with more than a few nods to the ’90s, and plenty of riffs to spare, Major launches into orbit.
Each song on Major packs a lot into a relatively compact space. “Sisterly” offers an incredible balance of acoustic and heavy electric guitar sounds, each instrument suspended in perfect harmony. This method seems to carry on throughout the album. The 11 tracks here are fresh and polished rock songs that emit clean, warm tones resonating from the guitars and the battering of drums. “Regalia” offers us a summertime jam to keep spirits high, while “Chompers” descends into something much more intense.
Much more so than on their debut, Major is an outlet for Fang Island to explore their immensely talented technical skills. But more importantly, this album is a lot of fun and the band isn’t afraid to embrace this hedonistic side. If their first album was described as “everyone high-fiving everyone,” then Major is sort of an orgy of fist bumps, crowd surfing and probably lots of confetti everywhere. Fang Island is, was and will always be about a good time. And while the arrangements on the album tend to overshadow the lyrics, with Major‘s share of ripping guitar solos in between songs, particularly those on “Chompers” and “Dooney Rock,” it has more than its share of ear candy to go around.
Fang Island’s debut introduced a good band, but Major marks the point at which they’ve become a great band. Equal parts math rock and pop, Fang Island fuse together opposing ideas of technicality and accessibility into one righteous rock monster. Fang Island may have set out to be a slightly different kind of band, but have more strongly begun to integrate more pyrotechnic sounds similar to those of Sargent House labelmates Tera Melos, yet continue to make songs composed of pure energy and excitement. Reaching a peak this high begs the question of where the band goes from here, but I’ll drink to keeping the Fang Island going forever.
Stream: Fang Island – “Sisterly”