By John Julius
You should realize within the first ten seconds of “Singing to Beat the Band” that The Fragments are pretty cute. “Celebrate for no reason,” they say. The Fragments write songs about lots of different things: “Concrete Teeth” plays almost like a construction worker costume party, focused heavily on attire and a single task, but not really exploring the intricacies of construction work because that’s not the fun part. “Late Shift” is about closing up shop at a bookstore and imagining all the worst scenarios in the process. The average person should have a pretty easy time relating to these songs, and most of the tracks on Stone Boat will creep their way into your daily humming routine at some point or another. These melodies beg to be hummed.
Sometimes things get a little too precious: “Metric Sockets” explores meter, rhythm and harmony by counting to ten over and over. It’s a fun idea but should we really praise a novelty track when the band delivers extraordinary harmonies across the whole album? Most of the songs stand on their own two feet though, weaving between soft rock, ska, sleazy organ-driven ballads, western influences, swing… They visit the whole map. Stone Boat surprised me, let it surprise you too.Stone Boat, The Fragments