Independent release, 2006
REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/30/2007
On its debut Volume=Talent, New Hampshire’s Fetish Chicken shows obvious influences of Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin and even Jeff Buckley. But unlike bands that are merely “influenced” by these greats but display no real sign of creativity that even comes close to them, Fetish Chicken has a glint of brilliance that is actually comparable to its influences.
Actually, Fetish Chicken in a lot of instances sounds blatantly like its influences; but still sounds great. The electrifying “Baby (You’re My Baby [Baby]),” right from the start, with its uplifting riffs, great energy and high-pitched vocals, sounds 100 percent Zeppelin. But it is so stunning and constructed so well by the band that it hardly matters if it sounds like a rip-off. Similarly, on “Soul Taxi,” one of the album’s outstanding songs, the moping lounge-jazz styled singing and the wistful music is so much like Jeff Buckley that to pull it off by another band without seeming like copy-cats needs some serious talent and guts, which Fetish Chicken has no lack of.
The band’s style is very progressive, with tunes often crossing the six-minute mark. The way it carries its music is very similar to Mars Volta in that even with the progressive song-structure, the music is uncomplicated and the sound is gritty and grimy. The songs almost never fit the regular format with choruses and solos not appearing whenever they are expected. Catchy “single”-material like “I’m Not Fooled” and “Tradition Is Strangulation” that don’t veer into unexpected tempo swings are almost non-existent, but no matter what, every cut on Volume=Talent has something exciting to offer.
Volume=Talent has a feel of one huge jam session, and a really really good one at that. The spontaneity and the “at ease” attitude of the group has a positive air that’s missing in today’s post-grunge bands that make false sense of moroseness such a huge part of their attitude. Fetish Chicken’s approach of “anything goes” doesn’t seem kooky at all, and actually brings out the experimentative side in them, and there’s no better proof of this than “To Feel, My Wife,” where the band confidently attempts a reggae vibe without sounding either too awkward or hung up.
Rock music’s journey post-grunge has been nothing but a disaster. In the slew of new bands attempting hard rock music the conventional way, where most of them are either too afraid of failing or are just not talented enough to try something bold and fresh, it is heartening to see a band as daring and gifted as Fetish Chicken. This group’s music is not something that would be welcome at a commercial rock radio station. The music is unconventional as hell. But it is also truly amazing and absolutely kickass.