Fever Sleeves are a band on the cusp. They’ve been together for roughly 5 years and have had to deal with their fair share of setbacks; they’ve juggled college (with one member going to school outside of San Diego), endured intermittent hiatuses, been stuck with frustrating recording arrangements, and have scrapped a number of songs as they’ve grown as a band. Somehow, they’ve managed to survive, stay on the same page artistically speaking, and have finally unveiled their first official release (ie: non-self-release), the excellent Futuristic Killings 7-inch.
The circumstances listed above, plus the loudness and ferocity of their live show, as well as the apparently ever-plaguing lameness of San Diego as a music city, have largely prevented Fever Sleeves from developing a sizable following. Though that’s not to say they haven’t earned the respect of their peers, compatriots, and others. As a result of their newfound consistency, they’ve been featured on local radio, developed relationships with impressive San Diego bands, and earned the backing of some major figures of the local music scene. Perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle has been Black Box Recording Studios where Fever Sleeves have recorded material not only for this debut 7-inch, but also for their as-of-yet-untitled full-length. Currently mastering and label shopping, the Sleeves are poised to collect a wider recognition that is long overdue… personally, I’m very excited to see where it all goes.
As far as first steps are concerned, “Futuristic Killings” is definitely a strong foot to lead with. For this highly-technical band that blends prog, hardcore, indie rock, post-punk, and math-rock, it is easily their most pop-oriented offering so far. Infectious guitar licks soar over surging moog and relentless drums, the melodies are memorable and engaging, and the vocals are at once ethereal and forceful. While the track contains musical refrains, shifting song parts and the lack of a chorus convey a sense of constant progression as lead-vocalist Tony Gidlund delivers a gem-filled diatribe against group think, herd mentality, and more specifically frat-life:
Alpha Beta fortune for a friend
Paid a rate to have companions
Way to imitate a fish in a school
Ain’t ya heard of individualism, bro?
According to my iPod count, I’ve listened to this song a nearly-embarrassing number of times… and after you listen to it I’m sure you’ll understand why. Yet, “Futuristic Killings” is ultimately just one piece of Fever Sleeves’ larger, refreshingly diverse sound. Try to concisely define it and you can struggle for whatever label you wish, progressive indie rock, mathy tech pop, technical post-hardcore-pop… in the end, their music is many things, but above all it is their own.
Download: Fever Sleeves – Futuristic Killings
Buy: The 7-inch is available through a Paypal mailorder on their myspace page in either pastel pink, hot pink, or red vinyl. Orders will also include a CD-R so you can upload the tracks to your (futuristic) mp3 player. And while you’re there you can also listen to the b-side, “Tigers for Hire”.
Download: Fever Sleeves – Maximum Castles
Buy: From the Black Box Vol. 1 compilation, which is available in digital or CD format on Amazon… or you could send an e-mail to Black Box and order it from them directly.