Maps & Atlases, Fang Island | Subterranean | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Maps & Atlases, Fang Island Member Picks Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard

When: Sat., June 26, 10 p.m. 2010

I didn't want to like Fang Island. With its arena-size sugar-high indie rock, this hyperactive Brooklyn-based five-piece makes me think of a bunch of scene kids with clever haircuts high-fiving each other—part of me wants to roll my eyes at how hard these guys are trying to sound like they're just naturally whimsical and high-spirited. (When I learned that the band actually describes its music as "everyone high-fiving everyone," that only annoyed me more.) But I guess I chose the blue pill on my second listen through the band's self-titled second full-length on Sargent House, because I've been won over. Fang Island's three guitarists (including Nicholas Andrew Sadler, formerly of Daughters) split the difference between smart proggy jolts and poppy, steady-rolling riffs you can bob your head to, and the sweeping, layered vocal melodies work mostly like another instrument, only rarely asking you to consider what anybody is saying (the lyrics seem to consist mostly of variations on whoa, oh, and yeah). When they bring it down after a big crescendo, it's almost always so they can start building up again, and a few of the peaks are huge enough to sound like Explosions in the Sky. The infectious playfulness never lets up, from the giddily seesawing guitars to the chorused calliope-like harmonies to the demented, circusy Emerson, Lake & Palmer organ—the album even begins and ends with the snap, crackle, and pop of a shitload of bottle rockets and screamers. Maps & Atlases headline. Fang Island also plays Sunday at Green Music Fest. —Kevin Warwick

Price: $12, 17+.

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