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splendid > reviews > 6/30/2004
The Fever
The Fever
Red Bedroom
Kemado


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Artificial Heart"

Buy me now
The Fever stand apart from many of their Brooklyn brethren because there's skill behind their strut. The band's name, locale, aesthetic and superficial aspects of their sound might hint at callow trendiness, but instead of coasting on shtick, The Fever come off as true song craftsmen and deliriously energetic practitioners. Their music has been called robo-disco and dance-punk because of its clash of slashing guitars and insistent, repetitive rhythms. What they have on bands like The Rapture and Electric Six, though, is both a greater predilection for up-front keyboards and a honed mastery of big, catchy choruses. Like Hot Hot Heat with a less annoying singer, The Fever offer a glimpse of everything that's good about dance-punk. (I won't use that term again.)

The organist calls himself J (no relation to J. Lo or ICP's Violent J, sadly), and his prints are smeared all over Red Bedroom. "Cold Blooded", which totally isn't a Rick James cover, is drenched with his axe's vintage tone, while "Artificial Heart" wallows in Tangerine Dream-like synth bleating. The band are always chorus-conscious, but some cuts are less resistable than others. Both "Gray Ghost" and "Put it on You" eventually slide into towering, almost hair metal-ish refrains as singer Geremy Jasper cries "all our luck will change and baby we'll be dancin' on their graves" and "it's over / the vulture's over your shoulder" in his nervy faux-British accent. Jasper is a more appealing 'tude font than The Rapture's Luke Jenner in that he can actually sing notes, although he wears you down on the draggy cuts, like "Ladyfingers" (which also appeared on the Yes New York compilation). Guitarist Chris Sanchez, drummer Achilles and bassist Keith Pony Stapleton also deserve props for Red Bedroom's nearly unrelenting sweating energy and unpredictability. Closer "Diamond Days" is a ballad with chorus-heavy guitar ripped right out of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun". It's the kind of leftfield excursion that meeker and more monochromatic bands would fear to take, and ample evidence of The Fever's unique scrappiness.



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