Building on the momentum gained from last year’s ‘Made An America’ EP, Inglewood super group Fever 333 have a full-length in ‘Strength In Numb333rs’ to continue their blend of genres and push of their message.
Drawing from political and social issues prevalent in America, the album implores its audience to question themselves and the communities they inhabit, and, whilst these messages drive the record, the furious pace of Aric Importa‘s drumming and the grinding guitars of Stephen Harrison create an anthemic and buoyant soundscape for Jason Aalon Butler‘s vocal acrobatics.
Tracks such as ‘Animal’ infuse industrial beats and grungy bass lines alongside aggressively rapped verses before jumping into a wide chorus. Playing off clean vocals and howling screams, Butler transforms a straight chorus into a rallying cry. The building tension breaks loose with the inclusion of a cycling riff, allowing Harrison to dictate a pumping breakdown, shoving the track to a chaotic close.
Whilst the inclusion of rapping is sometimes seen as a novelty within guitar driven music, tracks such as ‘Inglewood/3’ cement the conviction of the technique and Butler‘s comfort within using it. Switching between hip-hop verses and punk led choruses, the track effortlessly showcases the sonic landscape the group sits in. During the verses, Butler switches between double time rhythms, percussive phrasing, and irregular pauses whilst portraying an honest account of personal experiences within race segregation in America.
Not content with expanding on last year’s EP, ‘One Of Us’ sees the group dipping into additional influences with the inclusion of a children’s choir featuring prominently on the track’s coda. The concept of more accessible elements is revisited on ‘Am I Here?’. With its restrained use of distortion and a focus on acoustic instruments, it brings some further vulnerability to the record.
With a record that mainly focuses on aggression and frenetic bursts of energy, the use of soft dynamics and subtlety adds a welcome change of pace to the proceedings. Whilst the record mainly stays within its core sound, tracks such as ‘Coup D’Étalk’ and ‘The Innocent’ incorporate synths and glitched samples to keep the momentum going.
Granted, the record may not be breaking new ground, but it does come as a breath of fresh air in the current music climate. By being aware of their potential influence, Fever 333 take a measured approach to the message and the material that they produce. With ‘Strength In Numb333rs’ steeped in conviction, the record sets the bar high for their contemporaries.
A short guy, loves all genres, still believes it’s 2005. Watches too much TV.