There are some elements of snotty indie garage in the Fags’ sound - raw edges, loud volumes, and, of course, the kind of cheek that leads you to name your band “The Fags” - but, ultimately, the music on this band’s eponymous debut EP is power-pop pure and simple. The harmonies are pleasing, the hairpin turns of phrase clever, the hooks insistent, the chord changes both brainy and intuitive. If it wasn’t for the cranked amps and the fuzzed-out vocals, you’d almost, at times, think they were Cheap Trick. Which is obviously what they want - these Fags have studied long and hard in the school of power-pop, figuring out the changes, vocal intervals, and chord voicings that make it what it is and applying them, thoroughly and cleverly, to music that aches for it to be 1978 again. At their best moments, though, it works: you get the eerie impression you’re listening, through a busted car stereo speaker, to some 70’s AM radio station that never was. By the time the harmonies at the end of “List” - catchy in a way that’s just this side of cloying - kick in, there’s a catch in your throat, a shake in your knee, and a question rattling through your brain: just how the hell did they do that?
-Bill M. Cook