Really, isn’t that an awesome cover? It’s a weird collection of colors and animals that are decorated with symbols and images that are brought from every direction: east, west, north, south. It makes up a sweet collage of fusing elements that are all out for one goal: properly depicting the music behind its wall. For Fan-Tan, a group of musicians that are well aware that their own influences and sounds also come every direction – east, west, north, south – it’s the perfect way to introduce their latest, great EP, The Age of Discovery.
A band that met in Chapel Hill, this quartet of musicians pride themselves on providing the ultimate concert experience. And what an honestly humble way to put yourself in people’s faces. So much of what the concert is capable of has been lost by what bands believe to be just another night of performing. It used to be that if you sucked live, you didn’t stand a chance and now, it’s dismissed as easily as whatever new album the greatest new band has coming out. Fan-Tan not only delivers astounding live shows, they’ve been able to capture something many bands struggle with for years and years: bringing all of that astonishment to the studio.
Shaking with an uncontrollable amount of pizzazz and propulsion, Kuki and Sandee Kooks’ rhythm section has the band gelling and flowing together. Like some kind of well-oiled machine, the fluidity of their train is driven forward by Mike Walters’ timely synthesizers. Not only do they add flavor and dimension to the music but they provide those aforementioned colors that conjure up many different kinds of dynamics. Even as an EP, each song is at least four minutes long, allowing enough time for the listener to realize the band’s scope. By the time the fantastic “No Complaint” comes around to close it all out, you’ve already appreciated the album’s ability at providing excellent sounds from every corner.
For a small selection of songs, The Age of Discovery is anything but insignificant with every new song possessing a massive wall of sound. “A.O.D.” begins with a bass line and hi-hat that sounds like it was stolen off Interpol’s best song before it turns into a dancing, upbeat mixture of eccentric vocals and synths. The energy beaming off these five songs is deliriously magnetic, it pulses with an incredible amount of vivid drive. Singer Ryan Lee Dunlap sounds like a crazy combination of Carey Mercer and Spencer Krug, with each influence melting into each other to bring forth a manic expression of enthusiastic amazement.
Everything hits at the right time with Fan-Tan’s foursome of talented musicians. The Age of Discovery isn’t just a brief encounter of what may be coming next but in all, it sounds like the proper release of a band finding their way, together. Much like that cover, everyone and everything seems to be pointed in different directions, not knowing where the compass will take them but as a unit, they have a firm understanding of the music they’re making. And when it’s packed with this much energy, you can’t go wrong.
“On Your Wall” by Fan-Tan