This is one of the best garage albums (collecting the Fagettes' first two releases ) I've heard this year, maybe the best. The Fagettes know their musical history, writes tight songs, and have a sense of wit all too rare with most rock bands at all times, but especially now (irony ain't wit-Best Coast, take a note).
Like many garage bands, The Fagettes deal in simple songs about boys and girls and love and fun. But not so simple, not so fun, actually; enter "Catholic riffraff and the Allston Amazon." Lightly strummed guitar and a massive, 60s big beat drum sound accompany this touching tale of young lesbian love. The song also showcases the dual male-female vocals that do a lot to flesh out the song structures. Farfisa/church organ interlude and all, this is sorta the garage pop, ex-/anti-Catholic version of Bikini Kill's "Rebel Grrrl" .
"Mystery Pills" is an amusing tale of pill-poppin' fun on the run, with a shuffle beat and tastefully terse harmonica riff riff built around guitar haze. Lyrically, it's pretty much how I spent a lot of the past week: so fucked up and downed out that I couldn't even talk, let alone to the pretty girl across the room.
"When I'm with You," the second song on side B, is so close to ripping off Jesus & Mary Chain's "Just Like Honey," I swear I thought it was a cover, the first few listens. A shimmering, warm wash of summer guitar opens the song, with the drums duelling with tambourines and dual harmonies. Unlike "Just like Honey," however, and despite its jaunty tone, this is a tale of bitterness: Iggy summed up the feeling pretty well in "Tiny Girls": "well the day begins/you don't wanna live/'cause you can't believe/in the one you're with...."
"I wanna feel good" really revels in sleaze. Stomping, tight beats and a fluid, menacing bass line set the tone, and that tone is that of all the nights you've concluded by ending up in some stranger's bed, whose name you can't remember in the cold grey dawn of morning. The song doesn't end, it drifts off into howling guitar hurricane land. "You're destroying me:" more guitar- and drums-driven stomp. Lyrically, it's pretty much a summary of most of last year for me, which year I spent a lot of drunk in Roman gutters, recovering from a knife to the heart.
This review is way too long, but this is also one of the best records I've heard recently. The Fagettes are good musicians with a deft sense of subtle humor, and deserve a long discussion of their songs.
Buy the tape from Stimulation Addict Records or alternatively, get the songs via their original releases, from the Fagettes themselves, here.