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Fang Island - Major Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8.5
Production 8.5
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Final Verdict: 85%
Member Ratings
Vocals 6.56
Musicianship 6.81
Lyrics 5.81
Production 6.63
Creativity 6.69
Lasting Value 6.94
Reviewer Tilt 6.69
Average: 66%
Inside AP.net

Fang Island - Major

Reviewed by: Thomas Nassiff (08/06/12)
Fang Island - Major
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Record Label: Sargent House


Iíve read a couple of reviews of Fang Islandís Major, in fact I only ever listened to this album because of the positive reviews, and they all seem to start out with the same little factoid. Apparently when the band released its breakthrough self-titled LP in 2010, they still had a Myspace page and apparently said "Myspace page" had a quote to the effect of: "Our music sounds like everybody high-fiving each other." Well hey guys, I hate to point out the obvious here, but it takes two hands to play a guitar solo and it takes two hands to throw your fists up in the air triumphantly and then to play an air guitar solo, so Iím not high-fiving anyone when I listen to Major and neither are the band members while they play it.

After being floored by my first few listens of Major, I went back to that self-titled album because one cannot write an informed review without some background knowledge. Basically, Major has a lot more vocals than Fang Island does (but on a relative scale, it still doesnít have a lot of vocals) and it seems to be slightly less reckless on a musical scale. I guess the correct and proper word here is that Major is maybe more straightforward. But being straightforward is not Fang Islandís default setting; by nature, this group is spastic, weaving, unorthodox and immediately lovable, and Major exemplifies these qualities brilliantly. Although it begins (the catchy, jaunty opener "Kindergarten") and ends (the anthemic finale "Victorinian") with straight-up power-piano ballads, the middle nine tracks of Major give Fang Island a lot of blank canvas for their brand of indie-pop-meets-hair-metal-meets-classic-rock'n'roll-meets-drunk-party-rock jams.

Maybe itís just because my dad played a lot of Bostonís self-titled record really loudly on weekends during my formative years, but my favorite sequence during Major comes near the end of those middle nine tracks. Beginning with "Dooney Rock," an entirely instrumental number that provides living proof of the ability to write a melody that will get stuck in someoneís head without attaching lyrics to it, and culminating with "Chompers," another instruments-only party that sounds like a Christmas morning spent playing Guitar Hero, Fang Island lose all mindset of how songs are supposed to be written in 2012. Sandwiched between those two is the some-vocals-present "Regalia," which provides a bridge between the two most exciting songs on the record. This is music that tells a story on its own, itís music that expresses all the anxiety, joy, sadness and pent-up aggression of lyricism in its own special way.

Best of all, itís impossible to tell someone how to feel when they listen to these songs, and really to all of Major. You canít instruct someone to conjure up a specific vision when they hear the gang vocal refrain of "I wanna seek out the angles / I better start now" during "Seek It Out," a song that is riddled with a heavy metal-esque guitar riff and pinch harmonics all around. Nor can you point to a specific life experience when you chant, "I hope I never, Iíll probably never understand" during "Never Understand." This is partially because Fang Islandís lyrics are mainly bland and kinda generic, but itís also because of how instrument-centric the record is. Emotions come and go as you listen to instrumental portions so long that you lose track of what song youíre on, and the musicianship provides no predetermined destination Ė it's waiting for you to make your own connections with it, your own memories.

Major is a record that inspires equal amounts of focus and laid-back fun. I have yet to begin this album without wanting to finish it all the way through Ė itís almost to the point where if I donít have the 45 minutes handy to listen to the entire record, I wonít even start it. Itís a flowing, breathing organism Ė but at the same time, itís perfect music to blast for the background of a party. Most people will rate Fang Island as the better record here, and perhaps that is true, but thatís more a testament to how good that album is rather than a revelation of Majorís missteps. This is necessary listening for the carefree weeks before school picks up again in the fall, and itís a record youíll end up holding near throughout the entire semester and then some.

8.5/10

Recommended If You Likefun. and Steel Train with less pop and less vocals, but only if they grew up listening to hair metal and idolized Tom Sholz.
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Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 42.
11:54 PM on 08/06/12
#2
Lueda Alia
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Quote:
so I’m not high-fiving anyone when I listen to Major
Your loss.
12:07 AM on 08/07/12
#3
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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Album is beast and this review is beast. Solid work.
12:30 AM on 08/07/12
#4
Drew Beringer
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still disagree with the RIYL, I don't hear any fun. in this at all haha
12:43 AM on 08/07/12
#5
Gregory Robson
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still disagree with the RIYL, I don't hear any fun. in this at all haha
I don't either.
04:23 AM on 08/07/12
#6
JinxRemoving
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Top 5 of the year for me as of right now.
05:23 AM on 08/07/12
#7
EndlessPrisoner
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First paragraph and a half seem so useless...good review otherwise.
And yeah, agreed with all above.
06:16 AM on 08/07/12
#8
FUCKDIRTYWIPES
Kicking it middle school
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album is great.
06:41 AM on 08/07/12
#9
Gregory Robson
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First paragraph and a half seem so useless...good review otherwise.
And yeah, agreed with all above.
I felt the same way, but Thomas is a whale of a writer, so I don't question. I just wait with anticipation.
06:54 AM on 08/07/12
Holly HoX!
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In my top five.

RIYL is way off imo
07:20 AM on 08/07/12
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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What does everyone think the RIYL should be then? Honestly if you've never heard this band, I think that description gets you to listen to it and there's poppy-ish vocals mixed with that type of musicianship....feel free to leave your own thoughts on the RIYL in the thread so maybe people who haven't heard of this band will check them out though.
07:20 AM on 08/07/12
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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hahahahaha
08:24 AM on 08/07/12
georgedcc
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What does everyone think the RIYL should be then? Honestly if you've never heard this band, I think that description gets you to listen to it and there's poppy-ish vocals mixed with that type of musicianship....feel free to leave your own thoughts on the RIYL in the thread so maybe people who haven't heard of this band will check them out though.
According to the similar artists bit of their last.fm, they sound like Japandroids, Adebsi Shank, Titus Andronicus, You Slut!, Tera Melos and Maps & Atlases.

I broadly agree with that. Like others have said, I don't hear any Fun in their sound.
08:32 AM on 08/07/12
evannn
The Hollow Sound
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I would agree that vocally, the singer sounds a bit like Nate Ruess. I just wish this album was as interesting as the last one.
08:35 AM on 08/07/12
brook183
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Listening now, sounds great so far.
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