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Full Tang | Intangible

album review by John Powell

Full Tang | Intangible

Full Tang might take the majority of their musical heritage form Afrobeat, but their particular sound weaves way beyond the poly-rhythmic and Afro-centric sounds on Intangible, the Boston-based quartet’s first full length release. The album is something of an amalgam, everything from 70s psychedelia to roots reggae represented on 11 tracks. The band, Adam Clark, Eric Lane, Ryan Dugre, and Danilo Henriquez, dabble in multi-instrumentalism too, meaning that trumpet, sax, keys, and everything in between are also well represented.

The impact is a strange-yet-beautiful album, one that, due to its myriad influences, never gets boring or in a rut. The band even trades off vocal duties, so everything down to the singing varies song to song. This is a plus and a minus: a plus for the modern-day iPod wiz that loves a change-up in sound, and a negative for those that prefer cohesiveness, and by that I mean that while literally every song is good, nothing sounds super “Full Tangy”. They don’t have a definitive sound yet.

“Post” is an unexpected and lovable opening track. Dripping with synth whirs and rich guitars, the song is straight-up rock, the vocals slightly hazy in a 90s alternative sense. Harmony vocals makes it sweeter, and Adam’s bass is altogether the coolest aspect of this song- that and the sensible and not overconfident guitar solo.

Following is “Purple Sky”, which, even by its title can be seen as a more “out-there” track, bordering latter day Guided By Voices and mid-career Flaming Lips, it’s also a near-Afrobeat delicacy. The vocals are catchy with their affectedness. The instrumental breakdown is very Vampire Weekend. It’s great, and it sounds nothing like “Post”.

Key tracks include the roots reggae “In The Air”, which comes out of nowhere but is welcomed warmly- everything but the hair-curling sax solo near the end. What’s that about, boys? Everything else is good, though.

Another gorgeous track is “Sleep Walk”, something Elvis Presley would nod to- a slow groove akin to surfer rock- complete with slide guitar and organ chords held out for long periods of time. It’s an instrumental, and feels like an interlude. It wouldn’t be Full Tang’s hit song, (that’d be “Post” or the absolutely incredible “Itchy Back”), but it’s notable.

Songs like “Sing Sing” are odd but endearing, and others like “Get That” are wonderful renditions of Afrobeat. The closing, “Down With the Tao”, is either what some love about Afrobeat or what other loathe- namely, expressive jams over a repetitive groove.

Intangible is super indie. No singular label could sum up the tunes. Truth is, this album is for the general music lover, and not anyone adoring one particular style of music. Intagible may be the most accurate name for the album: something you can’t quite place your finger on, but you know that whatever it is, you like it!

Bottom line: A solid first LP from this Boston-based quartet with radical influences and no desire to succumb to any one of them.


 

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