Shaking Hands with Savages

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Music Review Monday: Fearless Leader : Half Dead [EP]

Fearless Leader - Half Dead

Fearless Leader – Half Dead

“At first I thought you guys were a Number 12 cover band…”
–Anonymous concertgoer

That’s an appropriate compliment. As you all know, I like to keep it a little weird, chaotic, and sometimes disorienting around here. And if it’s true that people tend to gravitate towards the familiar, then it follows that I’d eventually run into a band like Fearless Leader. Hailing from the grunge capital of the world (think Space Needles and lots of rain)– Fearless Leader– like most bands that are from Seattle nowadays, is in fact not a grunge band. But that doesn’t matter because it’s not the late 80’s to mid 90’s, so put away those plaid button-ups and torn jeans (which are both oddly still in style), and give a listen to what these sunless rockers have to offer.

Yes, that quote at the top should give a few of you an idea of what to expect, but to all those who aren’t official math rock club members, that quote means weird time signatures, atonality, poly-rhythms, angular melodies, and oft frenzied vocals. Now, if that sounds like a boatload of fun to you then congrats you are a weirdo (you get a badge as well as a pixie stick and Cap’n’Crunch sandwich,yum). There is a lot going on within the four songs on the Half Dead EP, so let’s explore these strange new sounds. Overall the instrumentation is  sick, but it would be shameful not to mention drumming first, which nearly got overlooked because of the vocals and  guitar playing, but I couldn’t drown out those beats with a megaphone; the gent playing the skins deserves an Olympic medal. Speaking of ridiculous,  the over the top guitar playing, especially on the title track will have you wondering if there is a hotline you could call to report instrument abuse (and I know those fingers have to be sore).

The sound is somewhere between Monster Machismo and the aforementioned The Number 12 Looks Like You, especially in terms of singing. Patrick utilizes atonal vocals, out-and-out screaming, and then at other times he goes all La Dispute (rhythmic spoken word) on us. He has an unusual singing style which will probably end up polarizing him, where some will praise him for his  throaty delivery, others will want him to stop before they end up looking like those guys (Nazis) at the end of Raiders of The Lost Ark. Myself personally, I think that the vocals combined with the music helps to maintain a consistent chaotic  aesthetic throughout the short-ish run time of the album(EP). In layman’s terms, Patrick’s vocals are damn good. The lyrics are poetically hyperbolic and still relatable; as fear and failure are both themes explored in-depth across the four tracks.

Every once in a while it’s nice to leave on a quote, so here is how Fearless Leader views themselves, ” Fearless Leader hasn’t been together all that long, but the majority of us have been playing off and on in different Seattle bands for years. We’ve always kept it loud, and we’ve always kept it technical, but FL is the first band that really let’s us do all the crazy shit we want.” And that is what Half Dead ultimately feels like; a band playing exactly how they want, and if that means being weird, scaring children, vexing the uninitiated, and embracing their fans, then so be it. Thus, barring something catastrophic  we should expect nothing less than sonic savagery from Fearless Leader.

Overall Score: 3.75/5

Favorite tracks: Half Dead, Hollows

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4 comments on “Music Review Monday: Fearless Leader : Half Dead [EP]

  1. Rumplestiltskin
    May 27, 2013

    Reblogged this on TheRumplestiltskinReBlog.

  2. Big D
    June 1, 2013

    Thanks for the review, I saw FL a few nights ago and share your interest in the band. The lyrics to “Hollows” are solid and their stage presents is honest, engaging and driving hard. These are good dudes! Big D

    • J
      June 3, 2013

      Agreed D they make some really great music I love their honesty and their play style. Its nice to see a band willing to take creative risks, and I’d love to see them live.

  3. Colin Orthmann
    July 20, 2013

    I’m not always super crazy about screaming music, but these guys have some crazy cool music backing up that screaming, so I’m digging it.

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This entry was posted on May 27, 2013 by in Music Review and tagged , , .


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