Despite only forming in the latter end of 2013, Dublin’s Fangclub have enjoyed a recent streak of fantastic, yet unprecedented events; from building a solid reputation on our shores due to their fantastic raw and wild shows to even being signed to Universal Records before releasing a full-length record. With this in consideration, many questioned if their eventual debut would be worthy of their quick ascension of the ranks in the underground scene and respective live circuit. However, after a couple of EP’s, the Northern Ireland trio have released a fantastic album filled with material that truly captures and represents the groups vibe, tone, and even after released by a major label, their DIY ethos.
Despite coming from a group who have become widely known for their raw, grungy and scuzzy sound and tone, Fangclub’s self-titled debut is a delicately crafted collection of tracks. From the initial listen, the production of the record is clearly notably fantastic, even more remarkable considering it’s the groups first full length. However, none of the artist’s revered rawness, grunge and sonic roughness have been fully polished out in the mixing process, and is fully prominent throughout the record, and like aforementioned, represents the artist’s rough ethos and atmosphere. Considering many of alternative rock bands are releasing material with all sense of gruffness removed and are aiming for a squeaky clean sound, it’s a welcoming sound.
Apart from the roughness in the mix, the record truly represents betokens the trios skilful writing ability. Opening with a newly recorded version of ‘Bullet Head’, each track on this album contains it’s own respective atmosphere and tone, whilst not straying from artist’s fully established sound. It’s a brilliant blend of striking grunge that’s nostalgic of the forefathers of the genre with elements of sugary sweetness and slight aggression that’s to be expected the genre’s stereotypical conventions. It works wonders; it’s reminiscent of their creative inspirations whilst containing a fundamental original aspect that is fully bound to capture the attention of seasoned fans of grunge whilst being welcoming to newcomers and younger fans.
Truly, there’s a general grungy and ever so slight apathetic feel to the record, but presented in a fashion that’s welcoming, approachable, and for the most part extremely catchy. With such engaging, catchy and approachable tracks such as ‘Lightning’, ‘Dreamcatcher’ and ‘Loner’, it’s inevitable that Fangclub are set to break into the mainstream and out of touring the toilet circuit.
To conclude, Fangclub is the perfect example of an album that contains expertly polished production, but doesn’t forgo a crucial and welcoming sense of roughness and raw grit in the process. Do yourself a favour and listen to this before they explode for those exclusive bragging rights.
Review by Dan Hillier