Reviews Something Fierce Don't Be So Cruel

Something Fierce

Don't Be So Cruel

Chalk up another one for the misleading band name file—Something Fierce makes me think violent and brutal, which definitely isn’t what this Houston group is after. The walking bassline and jangly guitars of the opening track on Don’t Be So Cruel establish a mood of calculated cool that relies on bounce and rhythm instead of aggression. To borrow from the press sheet, it’s “snappy pop” with an ear for the days when the first wave of punk was branching into art, but before they abandoned the pop-structure and melody.

There’s definitely a British influence to the record, and bands like Gang of Four, The Buzzcocks, and post-‘77 Clash come to mind frequently. The identity is rooted in harmonized pop; big basslines that are emphasized with rhythmic and repetitive guitars; and mild-mannered vocals that keep the primary energy focused on the rhythm. The bass is essential, giving a bounce to the guitar’s rhythms, and the rhythm section of Niki Sevven and Andrew Keith deserves much of the credit. The guitar and vocal style in “Afgani Seeds” sounds straight off Combat Rock and “Future Punks” also ties directly to that time and tone, even with its title. Where Something Fierce succeeds and many of their influences floundered, is in production value. Let’s face it, early ‘80s keyboards sounded terrible—and Something Fierce (fortunately without keyboards) keep their songs at a more traditional pop length instead of delving into the artsy five-minute range that dragged a lot of older songs down. The cleaner vocals give it modern-day indie quirkiness, and the clear bass and production value really emphasizes the dancey, pop angle.

Where the album lacks is its familiarity—it may be twelve original compositions, but the content is a bit too derivative of its influences and comes across as merely enjoyable and upbeat, but somewhat lukewarm. “What We Need Now” and “Bad Choice” get the feet tapping and have some great breakdowns that make them interesting, but when the disc stops spinning, the songs don’t stick. It’s festive and positive, but also somewhat fleeting.

6.7 / 10Loren
Advertisement
Radio K 2
Leave a comment

Dirtnap

2011

6.7 / 10

6.7 / 10

Share this content
Advertisement
Radio K 2
Recent reviews

Thou

Rhea Sylvia

8.5 / 10 Thou - Rhea Sylvia album cover

Thou, in this particular rendition, throw down great song thud after thud, right on the table, while permeating a delicate scent through their carefully constructed EP, Rhea Sylvia. Each song is ...

Jack of None

The Tattle Tale Heart

7.8 / 10 Jack of None - The Tattle Tale Heart album cover

Playfully naughty lyrics might have been the first thing I noticed about Jack of None's The Tattle Tale Heart EP, but there's more to this record created by three Filipino-born siblings, A.G., ...

The Plurals

Swish

5.5 / 10 The Plurals - Swish album cover

The Plurals are a heavy indie rock band from Lansing, Michigan. Their latest album, Swish, was released on GTG Records, a record label the band created when they started putting out ...

x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.