Website: The Fever
The Inside Pulse:
In The City Of Sleep is the second full length from The Fever, which presents an entirely new sonic palette from their 2003 debut Red Bedroom. Disposing of their electroclash-Rapture-esque sound after the 2005 departure of guitarist Chris Sanchez, the band’s remaining creative core developed a new identity: bizarre circus carnival music. Their new songs are melodic, mysterious and howling. Every piece, from the production to the songs to the artwork is deliberately evoking images of sideshow freaks and carnies. While not what one may normally associate with Rock and Roll, The Fever have co-opted a sound, but unfortunately it’s not one that hasn’t been co-opted before more effectively, and possibly more genuinely.
Positives: The Fever have obviously put a lot of effort into their craft, developing a style that is somewhat unique in today’s musical landscape. The songs are mostly catchy, and taken as a whole, In the City of Sleep is an engaging listen and experience. The songs are sometimes surprisingly sunny in a Beach-Boys way, but quickly take a turn for the melodramatic. Wilson-esque melodies quickly turn into Dick Dale surf themes, which are then bonked in the head by a Tom Waits impression (see “Do the Tramp” for a practically dead-on homage to Mr. Bone Machine.
Negatives: As previously mentioned, this has been done before, namely by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Tom Waits, especially considering the quantity of “junkyard percussion” utilized. The production, while interesting, tends to sound like more room microphones were used rather than instrument specific, so there is an ambiance that is disconcerting at first. Additionally, when you see the band’s press photos, they look less like the barkers and ringleaders they are pretending to portray and more like Coldplay. It’s a bit unbelievable from start to finish.
Cross-breed: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds with Tom Waits.
Reason To Buy: If you’re a Tom Waits or Nick Cave fan who enjoys the SOUND with no cares about whether or not it’s “genuine”, then this is your thing.