LA’s Fever The Ghost are an unusual animal to say the least. With the seal of approval from Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne, the band were quickly touted as the next big psychedelic trip following their debut EP, Crab In Honey, last year. Now onto their first full length release, Zirconium Meconium offers up a wealth of material that touches on so much more than just psych.
Labelling themselves “Mecha / Fantasy / Girl Glitch” leaves Fever The Ghost pretty much open to interpretation. Though both robotic and fantastical elements are very much in play, along with the redoubtable pop spirit. The band themselves have described the album as a “collection of songs musically interpreting the third dimensional integration process from the perspective of vital force energy incarnating into the physical world”. It sounds good and trippy. But Zirconium Meconium is no hazy psychedelic ramble.
Almost like a well laid out a stream of consciousness, arrangements chop and change swiftly and precisely. Opening track Rounder || is both bluesy and glam, a nice chunky riff paired with organ and percussion that switches into prog influenced melodies. Fever The Ghost quite often slide between styles, the aptly named Surf’s UP!…Nevermind starts out on a California surf rock vibe with Rococco style interjections and a vocal that takes something from Sparks.
There is a glitzy feel to the album, that lingers over the cacophony of noise. Lending a glam feel in its theatricality, even on the balladic Maritime Mammals. Despite the blissed out guitars and cosmic effects that run throughout Zirconium Meconium, Fever The Ghost have too much energy to be written off as traditionally psychedelic. The furthest descent into the kaleidoscope is the shimmery Sun Moth, showing their west coast roots with sound bleeds and echoing, distant vocals. Embracing a dancier style on tracks like 1518 and Equal Pedestrian, Fever The Ghost morph into a tripped out MGMT – stripped of their commerciality.
Ending on the jarring A Friend In Lonely Jesus, the breathy, discordant vocal over a theatrical piano part really does feel that it owes something to glam rock. Descending into noise, it’s a hybrid of a psychedelic spiral complete with Moog sounding synths and theramins, and the hedonistic luxury of glam. And that could very well sum up Fever The Ghost; the multi-coloured, multi-faceted psychotropic feel of an acid trip, held up straight by the conviction and swagger of rock and pop.