Fang Island, Fang Island

The youthful, anthemic exuberance of Fang Island’s debut is a curious thing. On one hand, tracks like “Sideswiper” jump around without a care in the world and soar to prosperous heights. But on the other hand, when you strip away the soaring solos and playful gang vocals, there really isn’t much substance on Fang Island. The album walks a fine line and just barely emerges alive, beating off the hordes of obvious pop-punk clichés that litter tracks like “The Illinois,” which romps with a potent, but patented crescendo.

Normally, albums as thorough as Fang Island are considered seminal works of art. But that’s only because these bands have stuck to one unique and indelible artistic vision, instead of simply barraging listeners with the same “Fist in the air for no reason” solos. Case in point: after spinning Fang Island a few times, it was impossible to tell the difference between the manic push of “Careful Crossers” and “Welcome Wagon.” Yes, it’s a good track. Once.

Of course, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for Fang Island. Albums like this are the reason summer roadtrips were created in the first place. If you appreciate tracks like “Life Coach” for what they are, groovy stomps of sunshine and seemingly indie-tribal melodies, then you’ll be rewarded. Fang Island is efficient in its simplicity. At the same time, you can’t help but wonder how difficult it was to create these 10 tracks anyway.

By Joshua Kloke

[Rating: 2.5/5]

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