Fleece’s new LP is the most polished yet

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Unusual and refined, the Canadian four-piece Fleece stands out on its new record Superb and Atrocious. The band will present the record and hopefully part of their signing camp at August Hall on September 18th.

A self-proclaimed “queer group”, Fleece capitalizes on its idiosyncrasies rather than capitulating to achieve commercialization. In a literal sense, the group elevates LGBTQ + identities. Lead singer Matt Rogers sings about dating men, and their recent music video for “Losing Time,” in which the band dons pin-ups in Wild West style, is a queer cowboy’s wet dream.

But, for Fleece members, being part of a queer group means more than celebrating sexuality; it is about presenting oneself with cheeky authenticity. “We are reshaping the definition of homosexuality,” Rogers noted. “It’s not a negative thing and it doesn’t necessarily have to do with sexuality.”

Rogers noted that not all of the group’s members identify as queer or genderqueer, but share idiosyncrasies that he jokingly called “neurodivergent.”

“We just don’t fall into the binary box. Some of us don’t fall in terms of sexuality, some of us in terms of how we present ourselves or what we wear. It’s a mix of sexuality and ambiance. We’re queer, and we’re a queer bunch. We are definitely not a straight group.

Fleece’s delicious eccentricity shines on the self-produced Superb and Atrocious. Released late last month, the LP features a mix of psych and indie rock influences with a handful of Motown flourishes, as if Berry Gordy Jr. had produced a Tame Impala and Grizzly Bear collaboration.

The album presents itself as an elongated diary entry awash in the pastel vibes of slender guitar riffs and percussive melodies. It’s twisty and edgy at the same time, as if Fueled by Ramen is releasing an Adult Jazz record.

Much of Rogers’ lyrical inspiration comes from his romantic experiences. He deplores financing “a guy who [he] can’t afford ”on“ All My Money ”and describes her carnal desire to feel loved on“ Do U Mind (Leave the Lights On) ”. This is the type of subject that might feel overused, but Rogers’ shameless honesty keeps the lyrics engaging. And while that shouldn’t be the case in 2021, it’s refreshing to hear gay love songs.

Corn Stunning and atrocious is not just a record about being in love or wanting to be; it is about facing the human condition and learning to love oneself in spite of it. “Something Real,” a poetic duet presented by Rogers and guitarist Megan Ennenberg, portray an endemic emotional numbness at a time when most of our interactions occur on the Internet. “All I have is a world I’m not attached to / made of steel,” Ennenberg sings over slender guitar hooks, while Rogers pleads for “to feel something real,” as if rehearsing the demand would lead it to term.

If “Something Real” is a call to self-fulfillment, then “So Long” is Fleece’s attempt to numb her boredom with funky beats and melodies, as if Stevie Wonder were a young man in his twenties. going through an existential crisis. “I want to change / This Information Age makes me feel bad,” Roger sings over sparkling hooks that juxtapose the song’s dark lyrics.

Fleece’s more jaded material is anything but depressing; in fact, recognizing what we all face – apathy, existentialism, and anxiety – is an act of validation and release. These experiences are universal and achieving peace with them is an essential component of self-acceptance.

This is the moral of “Love Song for the Haters”, an ode to the abandonment of luggage. Equipped with cascading guitar riffs and ethereal harmonies courtesy of Ennenberg, Rogers exalts freedom by shedding a toxic relationship. It’s not a diss track, but “Love Song for the Haters” is about accepting the traumas of the past and ultimately forgiving whoever caused them.

For all its safety, Fleece did not become a fully developed juggernaut. Like a spotty kid who doesn’t quite fit the mold, Fleece has been slow to take his place – seven years and three records, to be exact.

Rogers and drummer Ethan Soil go back a long way – they met in kindergarten, attended a Jewish summer camp together, and their grandparents got married. In high school, the couple formed a group called Darbus Fridge. Even in their first material, the couple’s brotherly bond manifested itself in a musical tightness.

They cut their teeth in small venues around Montreal, like the late La Vitrola, a bar-restaurant where the band played their first concert. “This show literally had 30 people,” says Rogers. “We were like the 28th group and our friends waited so long. I felt incredibly guilty.

Darbus Fridge became Fleece when Soil and Rogers began their college studies at Concordia University in Montreal, and after several iterations of the group, they invited their classmates Ennenberg and guitarist Jameson Daniel to join them. With his new formation, Fleece released his first two records which, although virtuosos, lack sound cohesion. The band recognized him and even named their second album “Scavenger” for his motley influences.

But Roger’s commendable songwriting chops and the group’s electric live performances earned Fleece their big breakthrough in 2018 when a booking agent invited the group to open for Canadian indie rock. Born Ruffians group on tour in the United States.

Not only did this tour strengthen Fleece’s position on the indie scene, but those six months on the road cultivated essential bonds between the band members, reinforced by their shared determination to promote mental well-being despite a busy schedule. charge.

“We are committed not only to being best friends, but to communicating well, working together and watching each other,” Daniel said of this crucial tour.

These friendships ushered in a new era of Fleece which saw Rogers cede control of songwriting to his band members. Fleece’s collaborative efforts paid off on songs like “Bodies Lie,” written by Enneberg.

Stunning and atrocious lasted two years, but worth the wait. The new LP doesn’t just outperform the old Fleece material; in its intensity and cohesion, Stunning and atrocious sets Fleece apart as a force to be reckoned with.

“We know who we are as people now,” Rogers said of the new record. “I have the impression that we have now switched to a Fleece which is more Fleece. “

Fleece
August room
Sat, Sep 18, 7:30 p.m.
$ 28.50
augusthallsf.com

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