The Fly Seville – E for Everyone EP

The Fly Seville
E for Everyone EP

The Fly Seville has had a rough couple of years following the release of Carousel, the band’s debut full-length. The band lost its bassist and drummer and struggled to regain its balance while on tour with the Magnetic Fields. With such a rotating, umm, carousel of a lineup, immediate growth on a new single/EP would seem less than likely. Fortunately for their fans, the Fly Seville folks have managed to come together, new and old, to put together a fantastic single.

E for Everyone starts off with the title track and single of the band’s upcoming full-length, a symphony-laden indie-rock gem. Stuffy strings open the track and are soon followed by silky strumming and skipping hi-hats. Singer Jesse Blatz’s smooth, regal vocals cascade over the fray, further warming an already cheerily upbeat song and recalling some of Guided by Voices’ finer moments. “E for Everyone” best achieves the band’s subdued indie-rock aesthetic and is the tightest song on the EP; in fact, this is probably The Fly Seville’s finest work to date.

The rest of the disc is composed of B-sides. “Blue Skies” makes no real ground after the fantastic opener. Indistinct, characterless guitars strum lethargically above overly simple drums while Blatz sings a good, but ultimately not remarkable, chorus. “First Day of Summer (Remix)” is a fun mix of indie rock and IDM glitchery; the percussion opens with a pleasant mixture of clean hi-hats and reversed snares while spacey keyboards slither beneath distorted vocals. Blatz is spot-on; his vocals conjure images of enduring a lazy summer full of days too hot to move in except to walk through a sprinkler.

“Life Vest” is the emotional peak of the single/EP. A bare-bones guitar strum backs Blatz, who takes the track for his own. His voice is the cornerstone of the band, and he is at his best on “Life Vest.” Singing in a soaring falsetto, Blatz laments an apparent lack of life-vest usage next to freeways (?): “Tell your kids / careful by the road / wear a life vest / try to take it slow.” His emotion is undeniable, and it drives the song, but exactly what is precipitating this sentiment remains unfortunately unknown.

Which brings up the problem that plagues this band: for all the artists’ tautness and songwriting ability, the folks in The Fly Seville aren’t especially remarkable. While the vocals are great, the lyrics are hit-or-miss (“I tune my heartstrings every day” and “I bleed into the microphone” aren’t particularly poetic). The music is tight, but it never shirks traditional song structure or pop parameters.

But maybe I’m missing the point. After all, one can’t expect every band to eloquently restructure the chemistry of tradition while still making great songs. And for all the charm and songwriting skill of The Fly Seville, eschewing outright innovation in favor of good craftsmanship is perfectly acceptable. So abandoning my reviewer’s skepticism and cries of “Innovate, innovate!”, I can recommend The Fly Seville for its well-constructed, enjoyable indie-rock-for-the-sake-of-rock music. E for Everyone is a great indicator of the future of The Fly Seville: it shows growth and taught songwriting and suggests an equally tight full-length to come.