When bands release their debut albums, many attempt to do so with plenty of fanfare, and try to get the word out as much as possible. That's not really how Houston's Fight Me does anything, but that's not a bad thing either. So, while this album came out a couple days before Christmas, don't be too upset if this is the first you've heard about it. If you're unfamiliar with this four piece, you should know that on their self-titled debut Fight Me, they blend grunge licks with indie rock structuring to craft a sound that might remind you of someone, but you can't just put your finger on who.
The songs have numbers as titles here, so for linking purposes, we're going to spell the song titles so they're easier to get an arrow on. Opening with the song "Two," it's pretty obvious early on that these four can write a catchy hook. The almost Pixies sounding guitar clash intertwined with the group backing vocals and Kevin Shields' sounding shoe gaze soaked guitar makes the song sound like it could have come from 20 years ago.
However, the post rock and even hints of post punk themes that hop on and off the track while the indie rock structure keeps the stride moving along, make the song one that's hard not to find yourself bopping your head to. The way they use backing group vocals doesn't deter from the main vocals while they speed along to the track's rightful end. They burn right onto the second song, "Ten," like it's part of the opening composition. There are these notes struck on the guitar that seem to open things up, while the almost party sing-a-long sounds of the vocals make the dreary guitar feel a lot more positive than the music would without them.
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With the snappier pace of the frenzied opening of "Eleven," it's apparent that while these guys are influenced by a lot, they can focus on powerful music with plenty of catchy notes. The song ends as quickly as it begins with a run time just a few hairs over the one and a half minute mark, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hit with intent in that time frame. This brings you to the catchiest and biggest stand out of the five songs with the fourth track, "One." The opening guitar alone should be enough to pull anyone in, while the snappy drums and the easy going vocals create a sound that's pretty amazing. When the lead guitar comes in with more catchy licks, the song reminds you in some ways of the music that bands like The Soup Dragons made if they'd been performed by The Wedding Present. The track is easily one you'll love from start to finish, as it feels like these guys truly in their element.
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The album gets closed off with the pedal drenched and fuzz soaked guitars of "Four." The longest on the entire release, there's plenty of influence happening here where the band seems to embody multiple genres in one song. While that typically means a band isn't focused, that's not the case here as Fight Me seems to mix grunge, shoe gaze, and alternative rock with indie and post rock to create their own thing.
Fight Me is definitely a welcome change to Houston's music community. By doing things their own way while creating music that blends genres like a product from Cuisinart, they're creating their own sound that's hard not to like in the process. You can stream or purchase Fight Me from the group's Bandcamp, or hear the songs in person when the band performs at Walter's on January 8 with Houston's Talking Forever and Astragal. Doors at 8 p.m.; tickets $10.