Fever Charm – “West Coast Rock & Roll”
Fever Charm’s new release, “West Coast Rock & Roll,” is a wild ride of alternative rock meets a little pop-punk with old rock’n’roll to lash it all together for a fun ride. Familiar and still fresh and interesting, these songs have energy and enthusiasm that they lend to the listener, never slowing down in intensity or integrity. I appreciate a chance to round-out the music collection around here, and these California boys are captivating and raw – exactly what a new band can be before someone feeds them into the over-processed music machine. Music fans – Get Them While They’re Hot! Fever Charm – Never Surrender!
Ari Berl, lead singer of Fever Charm, contacted us about covering their early February show in Portland, Maine, the start of their East Coast tour. I bet it was a great time had by all, but we had to settle for reviewing the new cd. Ari, we want to be sure and see the band live next time you pull into Maine. Stay in Touch.
I’m going to give a run down of the songs in a second, but I need a minute to talk about the music Fever Charm is bringing on “West Coast.” First, all songs are written and performed by the band. And they produced it. And the bass player mixed and engineered. But wait, there is more – they are all teenagers according to my research. Teenagers who are already well-honed musicians, talented songwriters, and dedicated enough to be in the studio and on the road. This makes this cd even more important and a harbinger of what may be in the works. These songs are layered and interesting, full of shifting styles and intensity. The band isn’t just trying to use new toys to make something, anything. No. These are smartly designed songs that take the listener in one direction before whipping them back in another. Never slowing down until the cd is through, “West Coast Rock & Roll” is liberated and relevant. Check out their website, get the download, stomp your feet.
Download “West Coast Rock & Roll” here.
The cd Run Down:
“Take Me Out” has been on mental repeat for a couple of weeks now as I’ve been living with the cd. That’s right, it is stuck in my head, and I’m leaving it there for a while because I like it. Pounding guitar and drums are filled out with contrasting softer, smoother bridges able to highlight the intensity.
“Broke Down” is darker, threatening, both lyrically and instrumentally. Here is the image of a dark night and a darker still reality for so many women. But I still find myself tapping my toes.
Hard guitar starts off “Call Me When You Get Lonely” before a 70s funky guitar snakes through the tune, okay- it is almost porn music but it is fun. Dark and moody, tension builds and then blows into heavy drums and rock guitar. Wait, that may have sounded wrong… Moving on, Berl’s vocals are raw and laid bare here with the emotion of heartbreak. “…please, please, baby take me back…”
If I ran the world, “Recognize Me” would be blasting out car windows on the first warm day of spring because it is just that sort of song – fresh and alive. Jangling guitar and backing vocals hit somewhere between punk attitude and 60s garage band. I want to drum on the steering wheel and take the top off the Jeep.
Pelting the digital world with jabs and satire, “Modern World,” crashes along with a fun thrashing beat, snarl, and a little surfer sound mixed in as well that opens up the sound, keeping it alive instead of just protesting the social impingement of technology.
I’m pretty sure that is a cowbell that starts “Show Me What You’re Made Of.” You know that sound. Soaring on the back of old-fashioned rock’n’roll, this song could blend into the rock scene of the late 70s. With edgy vocals layered together to create depth and strong guitar, this tune is a twist in the cd that is welcome and fits well.
By this point, a listener has to appreciate the depth and stretch of Berl’s vocals. Another fast-paced old-fashioned rocker tune reminiscent of the 1960’s spy songs but fresh and new, textured with vocals and irreverence – I like that – “Psycho” is right out my memories of the 70s radio classics my brother and sister sang on road trips. Edgy and hard.
“Lose Your Grip” is harder still, urging the listener to be carried away on the beat and the intensity. The lyrics are pointed and direct, critical and honest, and vocals are urgent, storming alongside the music.
One of my favorite things about this cd is that it doesn’t slack off as many releases tend to do, falling off in quality and balls. Not Fever Charm. They lure listeners in with the early happy songs, capture our interest, and then squeeze out tough, exciting hard edge rock and roll. Keep it up, we are listening. “Sin Conviction” rocks wide open.
Bluesy and crawling, stretching along the rhythm, “The Love That I Stand By,” peals out the last song on “West Coast.” Smoky, nearly keening, this song brings Berl’s vocals back to the emotional edge as he sings his heartbreak.
Whew. Made it. Get this cd, people, Spring will be here before you know it. You want this blasting out the car windows. Trust me.
Ari Berl – lead vocals
Theo Quayle – lead guitar
Yianni Anastos-Prastacos – bass guitar
Kendrick Brown – drums
Recorded at the Golden Room.