In their press material, Fang Island’s music is described as sounding like “everyone high-fiving everyone.” If there is an awards show for blurb-writing in music publicity, this little nugget should take home the statue. I had no idea what it meant when I first read it, but I knew I had to hear Fang Island right away. Having done so, I have to say that the description is right on the money — that is, if your idea of the sound of everyone high-fiving everyone is an indie-prog rock show where three guitarists play hammer-ons in harmony and wail out wordless sing-alongs.
Fang Island is a gang of former Rhode Island School of Design students who live in Brooklyn — and don’t let you forget it. Fang Island’s videos are filled with all the recent signifiers of indie hipsterdom: cheap animal masks and cheesy costumes, ironic ‘80s movie references, and silly synchronized dance moves. (That said, the YouTube video of Fang Island playing in a kindergarten class is adorable.)
The music, however, is more like Joe Satriani than Yeasayer. Fang Island may be half-joking when the guitarists whip out that Van Halen two-handed tapping trick that every metal hack did in the ‘80s, but they’ve built their sound around the move. It dominates the band’s self-titled debut album so much that there’s hardly room for the vocals to do much more than the occasional Arcade Fire-like “whoa-oh-oh.” Oh, and the rhythm section isn’t too shabby either — they prove their worth with some unusual time-signature workouts. The resulting music is bombastic, technically impressive, and kind of ridiculous. You may also find it exhilarating.
Red Sparowes headline.
FANG ISLAND: Casbah, Sunday, May 9, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $12.