I would like to preface this review with a bit
of personal reflection. I will hereby admit to having composed
ridiculously self-gratifying press sheets for my own bands.
There, I said it. Whew! That felt good to get out! Anyway, much
like the members of Fiel Garvie, I have been in bands whose
press sheets touted them as "enigmatic," "innovative," "fiercely
independent," and "unforgettable." Like my past musical endeavors,
Fiel Garvie is truly unworthy of these adjectives.
I usually wouldnít spend this much time and space critiquing
a bandís press sheet, but this one is particularly bad. If a
bandís press sheet is intended to accurately represent the attitudes
and motives of the group, then I can assume that Fiel Garvie
is rather over-confident. There are a whopping 39 adjectives
in this half-page press sheet, ranging from "delicious" to "extemporaneous"
and from "mouth-watering" to "unmatched." They compare themselves
to 10 different popular bands, and suggest that a particular
track "evokes the best of mid-day Cocteau Twins." Having read
this press sheet, I prepared my ears to be treated to what would
undoubtedly be a recording of unparalleled brilliance, of cataclysmic
future influence! What aural joy I would experience! What "infectious"
melodies would I soon be humming perpetually?
Ever had Ed McMahon call you up and tell you that youíve just
won tem million dollars and then say, "Just kidding, sucker!"
and then hang up on you? No? Well maybe Iím exaggerating a bit,
but listening to this disc after reading the press sheet was
a bit like that. Needless to say, Fiel Garvie by no means lives
up to the hype.
With trite lyrics like, "I feel so bad about you / think too
much about you / as long as these things remain unsaid," Fiel
Garvie reminds me of the bad poetry I once wrote in my spiral
notebook in high school. The musicianship is certainly competent,
though the songwriting most certainly would not warrant the
use of words like "perfectly-crafted." The production of this
record is crisp and clear, but, much like clean water sullied
by a turd, eventually it is overtaken by the stinkiness of that
which it contains. Great production and cool effects canít make
up for the crappy songs.
The bandís vocalist has the sort of breathy voice that can
either be great or greatly annoying. Mazzy Star can do it. The
Cranes pretty much invented it. But, in this case, it comes
off sounding like a scary great-aunt whispering something dirty
in your ear just before she pinches your cheek and tousles your
hair. I could be wrong, but Fiel Garvieís vocalist just seems
to be trying a bit too hard. The press sheet calls her voice
"extraordinary," but it is not different in a good way; instead,
itís really quite grating.
Aside from having obviously studied early Robert Smith guitar
work (perhaps Siouxsie and the Bansheesí Hyaena,
to which Mr. Smith leant his guitar talent), Fiel Garvieís guitar
work is nice, if a bit derivative. However, what few strong
or interesting points this record possesses are completely ruined
by silly lyrics or lame vocal melodies.
Apparently this band has been around since 1996 (7 years, by
my sundial), and they have released four singles, a 7", an EP,
and now a second LP. These guys must be happy doing what they
are doing, so good for them. However, from a five piece as old
as Fiel Garvie, I would have expected a more "unforgettable"
record. My advice: if you want to hear music like this, skip
right back to the originators (The
Cranes, Cocteau Twins,
etc) and forget about Fiel Garvie.