Monday, 23 July 2012

Fierce Creatures - Catacomb Party

Album review by KevW


In a world where half the bands on the planet like to pretend that their music can't be categorized and that there are no boundaries to their sound; a world where The Big Pink claimed to be making a hip-hop album and ended up releasing a watered-down version of their electro-rock debut instead; and a world where many indie bands falsely claim to be more influenced by Marvin Gaye than The Strokes - only to release an album of sub-Strokes dross before vanishing, it's not exactly astounding that Californians Fierce Creatures are claiming to make music "free of limitations". Yawn. There are limitations to their music of course, but you know what? They might just be on to something, and that statement rings far truer with this lot that most of the others.

Not only is 'Catacomb Party' an album with some tremendous songs on, there are less constraints, more unusual features, more variety and a actual real willingness to do their own thing and experiment. There is a freedom to their music, and although it's not out of this world in originality, it can happily rub shoulders with similarly-minded bands such as Flaming Lips, Grandaddy, MGMT and others, in that a pop heart beats at the centre, yet what surrounds it is less conventional and more playful. The opening pair of 'Ask For Lightning' and 'Babbity Abbot' are gleeful in their enthusiasm and when the pace drops for 'Lover's Vice' things are still melodiously joyful and bursting with passion, and 'Body For The Grave' is wide-eyed and full of retro organ sounds.

Essentially this album is organised chaos, an arranged racket of instruments and ideas thrown at a blank canvas and, as if by chance, forming themselves into modern psych-pop. It feels like the recording process was a hotchpotch affair and subsequently these songs feel vibrant and teeming with life. They also feel like the glue holding them together is slowly melting and could give way at any point. By the time you get to the space-pop of 'We Know It Knows' you realise the initial enthusiasm has well and truly engulfed the whole record. So while their kaleidoscopic approach to sound may ring various bells, they are at least in part avoiding those pesky limitations, and have made an album that's impressive, fun, inspiring and a great sonic workout for mind, body and spirit.





Fierce Creatures' website

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