Sifting through the nine tracks on Scavenger, the debut album from Fleece—a five-piece band comprised of Concordia and McGill students—I couldn’t help but think about the days when my transcript still featured the word “undeclared.” Drawing from an array of genres including grunge, jazz, and psychedelic/indie/alternative rock, the album has the same kind of unrestrained feel to it as a freshman Arts student during course selection. Fortunately, though, they have the chops to pull it off and avoid the danger of a cluttered, over-ambitious album.
Things start off on a dreamy note with “Alien,” a relaxed tune that nicely meshes a lead guitar draped in colourful effects with a clean keyboard sound, and then give way to “Wake and Bake,” a track reminiscent of Nirvana’s “In Bloom,” but much calmer.
However, it’s between the third and sixth tracks (“Demanding” and “Rise”) that the album hits its peak. Those two specifically have an airy quality to them that fully immerses the listener to the point where it’s easy to drift off and take for granted how impressive the instrumentation is. Even though it’s just meant to be transitory, “DLXVII (Interlude)” offers a memorable minute-and-a-half of music that will appeal to fans of the 2014 breakout group Real Estate. The highlight, though, is “Gabe’s Song,” which builds from a soft, haunting verse to a booming chorus featuring a guest horns section—not to mention a rare, excellent bass solo during the breakdown towards the end.
In the final stretch of the album, Fleece moves towards a more traditional rock ‘n’ roll sound; these songs can sometimes run a little too long and aren’t quite as memorable as the preceding ones—although the line “Chocolate milk and Adderall get me through the week” from “Chocolate Milk” is noteworthy alone for being the university student’s answer to Harry Nilsson’s “Coconut”—but it’s hard to really find flaws on this album as a whole. Fleece plays well beyond its years and is certainly a Montreal act to watch out for.
Hmmm. Juvenile for the most part. But then, they are coddled university students. The drumming is particularly lugubrious.
Is that the best you can do? Juvenile. See? Does it really matter what I think of you, or you, me?
Hmmm, yes, lugubrious, quite, uhummm . . . (tips monocle)
Only a douche nozzle would change his handle to make a cretinous stab…at nothing.
Well I never!
I’ll bet you never. Maybe once you have…you’ll get rid of those blue balls.
Can you help me by yanking my douche nozzle?
Ya right. A cheese eating college boy like you needs help? You probably have to fold your bed sheets with a hammer.