[£4 // Edition of 250 // http://cruelnaturerecordings.bandcamp.com/album/attune-cowboy-ltd-edt-7-vinyl]
This is my first time listening to Fret! and even though these are two songs- one per side, the literal single with B-Side- there are a lot of other songs by Fret! out there and if you go to the link above for Cruel Nature you'll find a link to Fret!'s Bandcamp page which has more songs on it. I tend to write reviews based upon Side A and Side B of cassettes and even with records as they have two sides as well, but since this is one song per side I'm going to end up unintentionally doing a good old fashioned (for me) SBSR-- song-by-song review because it's just what there is to write about.
"Attune" begins with drums and then this twang (which the Bandcamp notes Steve Strode is behind) and then it kicks into some heavy distortion parts. I would have said that this had twang had I not read it on the Bandcamp page, but it just fits so well. It's a rocking song for sure but that piece of it does remind me of country music in just that tiny bit and it's especially funny because their second song is called "Cowboy" (but not this one) The vocals are belted out like some cross of Boom Said Thunder and The Cranberries. It turns back over to the heavy distortion which is somewhere between Bush and something from the prime era of grunge. It returns to that guitar riff I called twang in the beginning and really this isn't your typical song structure and I love it. It has three movements and the first builds the same way that the third descends, but in between is just magical. I'm trying to figure out where this guitar riff might be from- something I can compare it with- but I'm just going to let it go. This is my first time hearing Fret! and I'm going to have to admit that most bands/artists cannot win me over in one song (It's why I don't like reviewing singles or compilations) but this single song if I heard it somewhere otherwise I would definitely want to find out more about this band.
For the record: I can only think of a handful of bands right now that I have become a fan of based on a single song. Add Fret! to that short list.
"Cowboy" has more of the back and forth guitar of "Rock Lobster" (Which admittedly I listen to entirely too much as a song because my son loves it so much) but then it kicks back into that distortion. It's like early Nirvana that used to go back and forth between being clean and having the distortion, but it does have that fast paced punk feel to it when it is distorted. The guitar notes then make me feel as if I'm listening to something metal, like Metallica, and the cymbal crashes just emphasize that. It continues to build and it could be something called post rock but it's still a bit heavier so maybe post-grunge or post-metal even. This song is actually instrumental, which is how it differs from the first, but it also has a different pattern to it. I came to think of "Attune" as being like a hill that we go up and then come back down and in that scenario I would think of "Cowboy" as being closer to a straight line as we journey from Point A to Point B.
Really these two songs are quite solid and as they have that heavy rock n roll vibe they are a perfect example of music that I feel should be experienced on vinyl. I always think of records as being in that era of "Dazed and Confused" and as such the bands of that time reach their heights there as well as artists who sound similar. But really it's not just what has become known as "classic rock" as much as anything that just flat out rocks. And this record by Fret! just flat out rocks. Hard.