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Few art-school slackers decide to repaint classic arena rock in new colours, but New York’s Fang Island are different. They thank Andrew WK in their sleeve notes. They have most definitely heard a Fucking Champs record, or possibly several. And they also describe themselves accurately as the sound of “everyone high-fiving everyone”. The band’s upbeat, largely instrumental, anthemic rock will certainly spawn a communal air-punch or two in a live setting, but with endless collective “woh-wohhh”-ing and tendencies toward pomp-metal, the folk and classical influences that peek out get stomped over in a quest for dude-pleasing crescendos. The record works best when they straighten things up with the three-guitar, top-down blast of ‘Welcome Wagon’, but by then it’s too late. As the record ends with the crackling of backyard fireworks, it seems like a suitable reminder to stand well clear.

By Gordon Anderson

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