The Fierce and the Dead — Spooky Action
(Bad Elephant Music BEM002, 2013, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2014-03-09
"Majestic." Now there's an adjective you don't see applied much to music in the last few decades, especially not any music that derives in anyway from an aesthetic of noise or punk. But it is a word that came to mind more than once as I listened to The Fierce and the Dead. There is an architectural majesty to the way they build their music up from a foundation of repeating patterns (often in odd meters), over-driven bass, and drums that tie it together. Other bands have discovered that heavily distorted sounds can be beautiful, but this band does it in a different way, layering it over mathy underpinnings in a manner that really works. Spooky Action is an example of the kind of beauty that is not delicate and quiet, but massive and even frightening — a wind-blown mountain, not a butterfly or a flower. All of which is not to say that the album lacks delicacy: halfway through, they provide us with an intermission of ambient textures, and many of the pieces have sections with a lighter touch, where the bass is less fuzzed-out and the guitars take on clean, ringing tones. In addition to the band's standard two guitars, bass, and drums, guests provide brass and cello on a few tracks. Their sense of dynamics provides a real drama that ebbs and flows as the tracks develop. TFATD is an outstanding entry into the fields of math-, post-, and prog- rock, well worth checking out and worthy of attention outside their native England.
Related artist(s): The Fierce and the Dead
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