The Fierce and the Dead have always been one of the most electrifying bands I’ve listened to. And after hearing some of their EP’s and their debut album, If It Carries on Like, This We Are Moving to Morecambe, they create these tension and mysterious boundaries that is jolting and out of the blue when it comes to their music in the genres of Post-Rock, Shoegazing, and the Post-Prog Rock sound of the 21st century. Their new album, Spooky Action, is a raw electrifying roller-coaster ride that works well and it’s almost like a powder keg waiting to explode at the right moment.
Matt Stevens, who’s been doing a lot of solo work from his virtuoso guitar playing, and receiving word-of-mouth from the prog community, has always carried the torch of the three genres as if he’s making sure the music is still alive. And alongside Matt, including, Kev Feazey on Bass Guitar, Steve Cleaton on Guitar, and Stuart Marshall on Drums, you know you’re going to expect something spectacular and beyond your wildest imagination when you listen to their second album from beginning, middle, and end.
The concept behind Spooky Action is basically on darker territories, cults, Quantum physics, and absent friends and throughout the entire compositions behind the arrangements you can see where the direction they are taking their sound and vision with them into unbelievable territories. Part 4 begins with some glowing guitar lines before it becomes a fast-driven sound thanks to Stuart Marshall’s thumping drum works, Kev’s fuzzy bass lines, and Steve and Matt’s guitar layered sound and it almost has a Space Rock sound.
Ark, which has been featured on YouTube of their music video, is very Psychedelia and Post-Punk as well. Uplifting, loud, and hypnotic is all I can think about this track. There are some atmospheric and frenzied moments between both the guitars and the bass coming up with the roaring notes that respects the Larks Tongues in Aspic-era of King Crimson. Let’s Start a Cult, almost reminded me a shuffle that the guitarists are doing in the melody before the wildly sax and Kev’s workout come kicking the door out with a big bang while Pyramid Hat, has this weird combination between the Kid A sound of Radiohead and The Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Inner Mounting Flame as if the two groups had teamed up to create a mad and insane album that’ll knock the sock out of the Music Business.
I Like It, I’m Into It, sees the band go into a hyper killer groove as the temperature level increases between the instruments as it reaches a higher mark on the rhythm section as they go into the Alternative / Art Rock sound as if they could have done a score for one of the Sci-Fi films as it goes a Spacey mode as they get the Starship Enterprise ready for warp speed. Intermission 3, gets the band a chance to relax as the piece goes into a dark and cavernous place of ‘70s Krautrock tribute to Ash Ra Tempel and Klaus Schulze’s earlier work as the clapping yet kick-back turned gentle and uplifting tempos of the title track, gives a shining moment to reach for the heavens.
And The Bandit, which reminded me of an underrated post-rock group from England called, Elastica, gives Kev a chance to come in front with his Bass work and featuring a bit of the string quartet to go into a classical yet electronic moment before the catchy rhythms come in as Entropy captures the essence of the Surf Rock sound of the ‘60s as the mood changes with some thunderous results of haywire sound of post-prog-punk chords and ending with a haywire guitar feedback sound. Unexpected and brilliant at the right moment, to give a surprise twist.
Part 5 is almost a reprise to the opening track of the fourth part, featuring guitars and sax doing the melodies as the woodwinds do a stop and go motion when they hit the notes at the exact moment. I’s very Rock in Opposition as it pays homage to the genre as the closing track, Chief, is a calm-turned-nightmarish finale. You can hear the instruments going into a dreamland atmosphere before the Crimson mode comes in for heavy screams and then back into the calm after the storm.
It’s a back-and-forth message between relax and evil thunderstorms that lure ahead, and it’s a wonderful yet sinister ending to close the album off with a Fripp-like alarm that is waiting for the beast to awake and start reigning terror. Spooky Action is a heart-stopping album that is insane and mad for the Fierce and the Dead to unleash. They have taken their music into a mind-boggling journey that you would never expect. A must listen to album that is highly recommended.