Founded in 2010, Edmonton quintet The Fight have an uncanny ability to craft songs for the heartbroken and hipsters alike. There is an immediate pull towards their sound that resonates with listeners long after the song stops. Perhaps it is the relatable lyrics or steady but not overdone instrumentation. Either way, their new EP North America is a concise six song set that makes something deep within you utter a “me too” sentiment. A band with the style of The Fight could easy slip into abstraction, which makes them more of an art band and thus make their music less approachable. The highest compliment I can give the group is that they have a relevant and confident soul that seems to push the music past the act of rock, fitting comfortably in the humanity of sound.
Recorded over two years on the road, the album deals with relationships, the uncertainty of the road ahead, regret, and what it means to be human. It might be the perfect mix of melancholy and optimism. One listen will undoubtedly bring comparisons to The National, which while very accurate, is incomplete. The Fight has a certain unmistakable charm that makes them both unique and refreshing. On songs like “Hot Knives”, the band is straight rock shaded in punk angst that comes out in guttural background screams. “I know you can probably do better / but I’ll try / it won’t always be easy” laments vocalist Bradey Feil on opener “Try”. Again, I love the complexity of their songs. Just when you think they are tipped into darkness, they bring the wave back to normality. The end result is as multifaceted as the humanity their songs represent.
“Smoke” offers glimmers of a baritone Death Cab tune. It might be the most ethereal of the songs and is relentless with a killer drumbeat and fuzzed guitar part. The song showcases their diversity while still maintaining a strong identity.
“Ashtray” and “Reckless” are both the gems of the EP. “Ashtray” wonders if a relational “comeback” is possible over late nights and an overflowing ashtray. The bass and guitars beautifully transition to a confident vibe towards the end of the song which takes it to an almost dream like hopefulness. “Reckless” is the most catchy and youthful song on the EP. The band thoroughly looks back to a time when they were “young and reckless”. Any one of us in the twilight of our youth can relate to this nostalgic look back complete with chances not taken.
The Fight make music that transcend taste and discernment. They drive a pulsing energy deep into your soul as layered as the lives we lead. We are blessed with some truly great music at Ear to the Ground, but perched on top of that sonic hill of 2015 favorites is North America. Check out their stellar new EP and keep an eye out for the band to do some major touring in ’16.