Exposé Online banner

Fang Chia — Above Ground
(Bandcamp no#, 2017, DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-08-01

Above Ground Cover art

Fang Chia’s second album exhibited a touch of Canterbury influence in its sound, and with this newest release, that aspect of their style is brought more to the fore — not that they’ve become genre purists after two releases whose main feature was eclecticism. “The Weirds” opens the set with a sound that could easily be a long-lost National Health piece, with quirky parts on guitar and electric piano backed by busy support from bass and drums. “Rondo Tarantella” starts with a rapid arpeggio on a synthesizer, but wanders into several different areas, with a subtle drum part moving at a fast pace while other instruments provide accents at varying times. These are the defining features of the Fang Chia sound: the chords are often stacked with notes beyond the simple; the guitar and keyboards tend to go in opposing directions, one playing chords while the other provides an unpredictable melodic line, then switching it up; the drum parts are busy but not domineering, more Bruford than Peart, favoring cymbals and rims over thundering toms; and the bass parts often feature chords and harmonics, roaming freely from cavernous low notes to high tones. Vocals are only rarely present (one track), and the brass instruments only show up towards the end, with trombone featuring prominently on the final track, “Nothing New under the Fog.” At just over 35 minutes for the six tracks, everything is kept on point, without any of the lengthy digressions heard on Where Would You That We Gather? The downside of this is that another couple pieces of such enjoyable music would be quite welcome. Above Ground is a great listen front to back, and one of the gems from the Pacific Northwest this year.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Fang Chia

More info
http://media.fangchia.com/album/above-ground

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Roots of Consciousness - Roots of Consciousness – These guys inhabit that area of progressive rock that tends to make me cringe. Influences? Rush, Marillion, maybe even Be Bop Deluxe. This type ofmusic is more in an "art rock" vein - very vocal...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues