Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Reviews:: Hooded Fang EP

There are certain elements that when combined, make it impossible to ignore a song. A rubber band string bass line. Hand claps. A nice female voice. Melodicas. Group shouted vocals. So when you consider that on the new Hooded Fang EP, Circles and Blocks, combines all of these things perfectly, it shouldn't be a huge shock that the song hooks you instantly.

But for me, the beauty of the song is that no note is overly complex and despite the surprising number of people in the band (7), almost every aspect of the track is sweet, innocent and light (said as a compliment). This isn't a collective of people trying to layer every sound and overwhelm the listener, while they attempt to create a false sense of importance. The well placed harmonies that finish some lines, the gentle swell of the drums and the shouted "HEY"; these are things almost every young band tries to add, but Hooded Fang seems to be wiser than their years should allow and knows when to say when.

Even with the infectious nature of that song, Hooded Fang doesn't fall victim to finding one style that works and playing it to death. They expose three or four styles (in a mere 5 songs) the with equal success, which is pretty impressive for such a new band. Fall Leaves, lets Daniel take the lead, and again the bass really shapes the song, but it's the Merritt-esque vocals that draw me in. On the punkish (think Egghead, not Ramones) closer, Train Station, I absolutely love the honesty of the verse when Nick admits, "I've never been to California. I'm just excited to be seeing in Montreal. My French is crap just thought I'd warn ya, I never took those correspondent classes I said I would" and the doo doo doos that make up most of the song.

I love they way they constantly rotate instruments and vocalists. It's like Hooded Fang is a musical Barbapapa, shifting shape to provide us with hours of fun. Whether it's the nice boy girl traded vocals and slight new wave textures that creep in on Land of Giants or the horns that come out of nowhere (but fit perfectly) in Fall Leaves, the band has a great understanding of finishing a song without distracting from it. Normally, the sock hop swoon of the aptly named Pageant would be pretty standard fare, but they add a classic rock guitar solo, whistles, beautiful vocals and gradually add energy to the track.

Again, I know these things could be said about countless bands and don't seem that big of a deal, but when you have to stomach terrible pop record after terrible pop record, hearing a band get it right is something that makes you sit up and take notice.

Posted at 7:30 AM by ack :: 2 comments

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At 6:53 PM, Blogger cl did sayeth:

I think it's Dan who sings Fall Leaves. Great songs!


At 3:22 PM, Blogger Alie did sayeth:

Mannn. These guys are completely awesome. Your review summed them up perfectly, as well. I just heard "Fall Leaves" by these guys a couple weeks ago, and today I just found out about a show they're playing [with Rural Alberta Advantage and Urban Aesthetics no less! Woo!] in my city so I went to get more acquainted with their MySpace songs. And ack.

They're just great. Absolutely great. They keep everything fresh by switching it up.

I too, loved the line about Montreal, French and abandoned language learning.

This has gone on for too long but just thought I'd compliment you on a spot-on review.


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