After 3 years, the Fresno, CA septet of a band that calls themselves Fierce Creatures just released their debut LP this week. And to be honest....it's kinda fantastic and it's called Catacomb Party. The band previously dropped their self-produced/released debut EP called I Mostri Feroci back in 2010, which you can also check out and purchase (I already have) HERE. I went back to check out Feroci after listening to CP a few times and it definitely laid down the foundation for the band's current interestingly unique sound.
Now the hard part....defining said "sound." Every time I listen to CP, I pick up a different nuance that reminds me of the elemental uniqueness of other bands I love. Allow me to explain with a few examples....
The album gets things started with the beautifully hazy shoegazetasticness "Ask for Lightning." If you have been following me long you probably know my go to in the shoegaze indie world would be my local favorite, black books. There are some similarities in the hazy garage-fuzzedness but also a bit of Real Estate in there as well, especially in the vocals/harmonies.
Next up we have the percussion/rhythm-heavy and poppy-yet-kinda-dark tune that is best described by it's name, "Babbity Abbot." Now I have no clue what that means but it feels right. When I listen to it, I definitely wanna babbity some abbots! Seriously though, this song is the 1st time I start to catch auditory glimpses in the percussion that brings to mind Local Natives and White Rabbits a bit. What I'm saying is it's a pretty killer song.
Then we follow with "Lover's Vice," which right off the bat brings the shoegaze back to the forefront until the vocals kick in. Here is where I instantly thought of Grizzly Bear and most definitely their songs where Daniel Rossen is featured. The vocal sound and style is pretty close, which is awesome cause I do love me some Grizzly Bear. Then, the harmonies kick in and play off each other as I would expect in a GB tune. Oh and if you're wondering, that Local Natives/White Rabbits beat is still there too.
This Grizzly Bearedness stays prevalent on the succeeding track, "Body for the Grave." There isn't a lot going on lyrical-wise with a lot of repetitiveness but it's a freaking catchy tune. It has a pretty wicked bass line and the chorus chanting "we need a body for the grave" might as well have translated into "we need a place to stick this dude's eardrums cause they are about to explode from awesomeness!"
"For the World is Hollow" is the first time we get to experience the hauntingly beautiful voice of Amanda Valdez at the vocal forefront. Let me tell you she crushes it over some interesting bloops, bleeps, and all sorts of distorted fuzziness that only C3PO and "his" vast knowledge of languages could translate.
The following comparison may sound a little strange but it was literally the progression of thoughts when I first heard "Magical Disappearing Acts." Honestly have felt the same way every time I've heard it since. So right off the bat between the instrumental style and Valdez's dreamy voice it brought to mind the band Father John Misty. Her inflections are almost spot on even more so as the song builds. The thing that's most interesting is that Father John Misty sounds way different live than when just listening to the album. As "Acts" progresses it quickly gears much closer to the live Father John Misty. If you've ever seen them live you'll probably know what I'm talking about.
On album closer "We Know It Knows," The Shins instantly come to mind and then you realize the vocals throughout have sneakily had a very James Mercerish feel to them. At this point I was confused as to who I thought they really reminded me of and wanted to listen again right away. I felt the exact same way with every song, in each coming across like the initial revelation prior to hearing the rest of the album. I feel like that sentence may not make sense....just read it a couple times cause I don't know how else to put it....you'll get it.
To recap...in Fierce Creatures debut LP Catacomb Party I thought of black books, Real Estate, Grizzly Bear, Local Natives, White Rabbits, The Shins, Father John Misty, and Star Wars. The collection of different unique sounds throughout CP as well as the larger band element also brought to mind Arcade Fire. Knowing this, I started to pick out other similarities between the bands respective sound.
If you haven't noticed yet, it's a pretty awesome album and not only for a debut. I haven't wanted to listen to anything else for the past few days.
Check out the video for the stellar title track (I didn't even mention this one!) below....