Sensory Overload: Fever Fever set to thrive in post-Mumford society

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From the August 15, 2013 edition

Last Thursday I stopped by the quarterly Pecha Kucha event, in which a series of speakerspresent 20 slides for 20 seconds each, in the hopes of catching a glimpse of Grandview’s new Tacocat arts space and checking out a band I’d never heard before. Rain forced the event inside the warehouse space nextdoor that will eventually house theLand-Grant Brewing Co., so no dice on Tacocat. I did acquaint myself with Fever Fever, though.

From the sounds of this quartet’s music online and an event description that called them “atmospheric,” I was expecting some grandiose bleeding-heart post-rock, the full “Friday Night Lights treatment.Either Fever Fever was doing a special acoustic performance, or the band has revised its sound significantly to thrive inour post-Mumford society.

The setup was primarily acoustic, with a stripped-down drum kit, foot-controlled jingle bells, a xylophone, flute, mandolin and squeeze box organ getting play at various points. The songs were vaguely rootsy, but with soft touches that veered from the Maroon 5/Jason Mraz school of lite riddim to earnest yearning of the Jars of Clay varietyThey sang about illusionreversion to past forms and giving in to life’s more rhapsodic impulses, all of which are fitting subject matter formusic like this.

The aesthetic reached into the visual dimension too, from thecatalog-rustic attire a light show that involved repurposed bare-bulblamps in wooden crates — mighty luminescent, if you catch my drift. It was the ultimate Paste Magazine experience, all the way down to Civil Wars-gone-emo cover of MGMT’s “Kids.”

If this is just a chameleonic pose, so be it. Bands evolve to stay relevant all the time, though it’s much more exciting when they’re setting trends rather than riding vintagecoattails. Still, I ain’t mad at Fever Fever for jumping on this particular steam train because they know how to drive it.

Regardless of stylistic preference, this unithas it together. They wove complex vocal patterns and harmonies without a hitch. The performance was tight and on-point. The songs, while slightly formulaic in their build from quiet to climactic, nonetheless pulled off that build dynamically. Even white bread can be executed deftly if you bake it right.