Born of an independent study at the Rhode Island School of Design, rock band Fang Island is preparing to release its debut album on Sargent House Records Feb. 23. The self-titled record is a jolt, a surge of energy. It's a call to get up and dance.
"We're very excited," said guitarist Jason Bartell. "We don't know where this is going, but we're going to see what happens."
Bartell and three friends formed Fang Island during the 2005 RISD winter session, whenthey started a "class about rock" together, Bartell said.
"It was called ‘Rock Band,' or something like that," Bartell said, laughing. "We just started music when we weren't working on projects."
The band's rhythm is irresistible. "Daisy," a song from its new record, consists of rapid drumbeats scoring a three-guitar harmony that accelerates heartbeats. On the album, each strum, each chord and each beat complement each other, creating one thrilling song after another. The tracks are electrifying and full of surprises.
"Making uplifting music is a big driving force for the band," Bartell said.
Bartell said Providence's music scene was very "accepting" of young artists, adding that it was ideal for Fang Island's growth. The city's "colorful noise" served as an initial source of inspiration, to which the band added a "healthy dose of classic rock and modern pop," he said.
Fang Island has undergone some changes from its original days on College Hill. Today, the band consists of Bartell, bassist Phil Curcuru, guitarists Chris Georges and Nicholas
Andrew Sadler and drummer Marc St. Sauveur. While the five no longer live in Providence, they continue to make music, Bartell said.
"Although we don't have a permanent location," he said, "we're trying to make New York a central practice area."
The band already has several shows booked around the nation for the next month. So far, Bartell said, the band has gotten great audience response.
Fang Island worked on the album for more than a year, and has put together 10 tracks that promise to make its fans want to jump up and down. The band is now counting down the days until the album comes out.
"Yeah, it's exciting," Bartell said. "It's been building up for a long period of time."
The new album is full of positive energy with a tinge of nostalgia, Bartell said. To him, dwelling on the past can prevent people from moving forward. "It's about overcoming nostalgia and also reveling in the positive aspects of it," he said.
He added that the band wants to make fun music that conveys a vibrant energy. "We want to remind you of what you and your friends can accomplish," he said. "It's about hopefulness."