The Euphoric by The Fierce And The DeadRelease date: May 18, 2018
Label: Bad Elephant
Whilst The Fierce And The Dead are hardly progressive rock in its more classical sense, having a penchant for more snappy immediate-ness, than never-ending cycles of music held together by keyboards and synths, they are progressive when it comes to updating their music. Once bastions of the loud riff, and on The Euphoric you can certainly get plenty of them, the standout change is the addition of (ironically) synths. Less widdly diddly, and more in time with the current Stranger Things vogue, they add a unique sense of individuality to the music which channels that 80’s nostalgia and turns it into a paean for a more fun era.
And fun is what TFATD provide. One look at the video for opening song ‘Truck’ is enough to have anyone of a certain age grinning and running for their retro arcade machines. It’s a feat repeated on ‘48K’ too, which acts as an ode to those days of banging buttons down at the arcade. By looking back, TFATD weirdly progress. They also manage to cement themselves as current leaders of a new kind of progressive music, where the past is unshackled and a new urgency is added. The purists may not agree, but to continue to exist it will take bands such as TFATD to continue doing what they do.
Elsewhere on The Euphoric you get the nervy riff of ‘Verbose’, previously heard on the live Field Recordings album. In its correct place here, it serves as a jolt of riff action in between more esoteric fare such as ‘Cadet Opal’, and the final two tracks ‘Parts 7 & 8’ (or are they one track? Maybe it’s their nod to classic prog). Those riffs the band are so known for are there in all their angular glory, but be prepared to be thrown off by the rather glorious synth moments such as on ‘Parts 7 & 8’ and the earlier ‘The Euphoric’. Taking a cue from the early work of Tangerine Dream, they dig deep into the ambient experimental age of krautrock, but also keep it tightly melodic.
For a band who remain resolutely instrumental, there is so much character to these tracks that you could be forgiven for thinking you were being told a story through lyrics. The lyricism comes from the symbiotic nature of the band who, as a whole, seem to gel into a strange formidable beast. As a unit, they bring the music in all it’s cinematic and alien glory, yet underneath you can still feel the innate human nature of a bunch of ordinary blokes. It’s that realism and open nature that makes TFATD a band for the people. You feel like you could be mates with them, yet when they start playing they sound utterly alien.
The Euphoric is an album which unfolds over a series of listens to ultimately become your best friend. It’s easy accessibility belies the intricate nature of the music and you may find yourself tapping your feet to some weird patterns without even realising. It’s easy nature invites you in, then slowly closes the door behind you, offers you some comfortable slippers, a cup of tea, then a ride down a progressive highway on a glitchy ZX Spectrum truck. Did we say fun and progressive rock in the same sentence? We have now. Jump on board the TFATD juggernaut right now!