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items tagged with Fang Island

Silly Sincerity: Fang Island, June 28 in Rock Island
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2010-06-25 16:47:15

Fang Island

The band Fang Island -- playing the former ComedySportz location in Rock Island on Monday -- is named after a place from a story in The Onion, but it would be a mistake to infer that the band is in any way a joke. There's certainly a silliness there -- guitarist Jason Bartell admitted that many songs start with "cheesy" riffs -- but it's also nakedly sincere.

Think the unapologetically adolescent approach of Weezer, or the id arena rock of Andrew W.K. as starting points. But Fang Island benefits from having few lyrics -- and because they're generally shouted by a group, they barely register. Fusing big, bright, loud guitars, strong melodies, and some prog-rock unpredictability and complexity, the band makes a joyful noise unfettered by angst. As Pitchfork noted: "What helps Fang Island steamroll past cynicism is how 'fun' isn't just an ornament for them; it's embedded in the band's musical DNA."

"I think the best way to make music is that middle line [between] ... not taking it seriously enough and taking it way too seriously ... ," Bartell said in a phone interview this week. "It comes down to honesty in some ways." The band needs to pursue its aims "in a very pure way," he added.

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