After two build-up EP’s, Irish rockers Fangclub have finally released their first full-length album, one that is as heavy and determined as the hype proclaimed.
The previously-heard ‘Bullet Head’ kicks the album off, and guitars are pummelled straight from the get-go, accompanied by wispy “ooh” vocals that turn to early ‘90s, grunge-esque shouts. The ‘90s alternative vibe continues with ‘Role Models’, and with just as much heaviness as the opening track, it’s apparent that Fangclub were out to captivate with the album’s earlier songs.
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Depending on your tastes and preferences, that’s where the fun ends, as the band’s emphasis on ‘rock music and nothing more’ seems to wear thin and wear itself out when the album’s central songs ‘Dreamcatcher’ and ‘Bad Words’ come by. Luckily, the album is a short one at thirty-three minutes, so the lack of adventure doesn’t really outstay its welcome like it could’ve otherwise. For those who love rock music to the extent that they can be appeased with the basics of heavy, distorted guitars, tough vocals and violent rhythm, you may get a kick out of this album, but if you want more, sorry, you’re not getting it.
The album doesn’t really take on any interesting narratives, and if there is some wondrous sentiment tucked in there somewhere, you wouldn’t know it from the overly cliched lyrics. Take ‘Best Fake Friends’ and its opening lines – “I tripped and fell / under your spell / Heaven or Hell / I want this”, it wouldn’t be too farfetched to assume the silly, gloomy lyrics with no real passion were written simply to accompany the music and nothing more, like how one might throw an “I love you” or a “woah-oh-oh-oh” into a pop song. A dishonourable mention for the album’s poor lyrics would be the chorus to ‘Bad Words’, with “take me by the hand / make me understand / I’ve been living backwards”.
Not to be too harsh about Fangclub, they clearly have their audience that they’d like to hold onto as much as possible, but the safe, ‘rock for the sake of rock’ sound just isn’t appealing, it’s bloated and lifeless, and in some ways lazy, considering how much larger-than-life, effervescent music is out there these days. Fangclub know what they’re doing, but they’re not doing much.
‘Fangclub’ is out now via Universal Music