Alberta-based four-piece Fist City continue to make a name for themselves with the genre-blending It’s 1983 Grow Up!, their second full-length record. The album marks the band’s first release since being signed to Black Tent Press and is reflective of their signature sound while presenting more cohesively as a whole than their previous effort (2010’s Hunting You).
Producer Paul Lawton of the formerly Lethbridge-based Mammoth Cave machine has worked his magic and conjured up a winning formula – a full, atmospheric sound punctuated by noise blasts, bad-ass guitar lines, and the occasional anthemic chant-along chorus. It is noisy, but it’s beautiful, and manages to capture the frenetic energy of Fist City’s live shows.
There’s a little something for everyone here – from the circus fun house riffs of spaced-out dance party “The Creeps” to the irresistible shoe gaze/surf grab bag “Endless Summer." Don’t even bother trying to stop yourself from shimmying along; resistance is futile. All tracks are driven skilfully by Ryan Grieve’s Go-Go caveman drumming and the straightforward but dexterous bass lines of Brittany Griffiths. The rhythm and lead guitar interplay is just plain good fun – Evan Van Reekum displays his trademark style, which comprises riffs that are understated but catchy as hell.
As usual, rhythm guitar player Kier Griffiths' lead vocals are more rhythmic than they are melodic, which does grow repetitive, but can be surprisingly effective, too, as in the relatively mournful “Weak End." Evocative lyrics deciphered through the reverb are all the more reason to listen repeatedly.
The band’s sound remains hard to describe definitively. The album is diverse enough to hold one’s attention; some tracks are short, sweet, and succinct statements of the post-punk/riot grrl variety. Others convey a colder, ultra-modern brand of psychedelia. Tripped-out fuzzy breakdowns pick up where demented surf romps end. Pop sensibilities abound yet all are propulsive and a little bit frantic – guaranteed to leave the listener with a spring in his or her step while inspiring smash-and-grab belligerence. Yep, the cool kids are gonna have a lot of fun with this one.
8.0 / 10
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