Sensory Overload: Fever Fever finds beauty amidst destruction at Skully's
Introducing "Collapse," the track that closes out Fever Fever's debut full-length, Aftermath, and concluded the quintet's record release show at Skully's Music-Diner on a recent Sunday, singer/guitarist Drew Murfin explained both the album and the song were meant to symbolize "the process of falling … and building back up."
"Collapse," in turn, opened slowly, colored with flute and fragile vibraphone, steadily building to an epic crescendo that featured four of the band members bashing away giddily on percussion. "Watch the world collapse," Murfin sang, his warm, inviting tone suggesting the promise of a new start amid the surrounding destruction.
A bulk of the band's songs projected a similar sense of optimism - a not altogether unsurprising trait from a group that wrote "Be kind always" under the Personal Interests tab on its Facebook site - with Murfin making repeated mentions of beauty, love and beating hearts. "I love you even more," he swooned on the sweeping, grandiose "Hypnotized," as a booming kick drum mirrored his quickened pulse.
Fever Fever cites the likes of the Killers and U2 among its influences, and there's a similar sense of arena ambition in the crew's catchiest songs, which tended to build around swollen, orchestrated choruses. Witness the title track off its debut, which combined soaring "ooh oh" backing vocals, arching guitar lines and airy crescendos of violin.
More often, though, the songs hinged on the smaller, less immediate moments, be it the delicate flute (courtesy, with some degree of irony, of the band's burliest member) lacing its way through "Clouds Catch Fire" or the electric mandolin that added a lively pluck to "Everyday."
This was doubly true of Murfin's lyrics, which tended to focus on the natural beauty that revealed itself repeatedly throughout his day-to-day, be it the distant point where the earth meets the sky or the people he encountered in his dealings ("I see beauty in you…").
It's a simplicity that bled over into Fever Fever's sparse-but-effective stage set up, which utilized a series of flickering bulbs to light the band members, who spent a bulk of the 50-minute set seeking out similar illumination in the music. -Andy Downing