A Psycho-Rock Shot
Raccoon Fighter, a self-described “Psycho Fuzz Explosion” of surf pop and garage rock, condenses its style and creativity into a brief, five-track album. Although Spiral Flag is short, it gives listeners the perfect shot of Raccoon Fighter’s sound: enough that you get a taste for their work without risking lengthiness or redundancy. This three-man band, with each member being an accomplished songwriter, produces music that is unique but has an air of familiarity with some of its garage rock tendencies.
The track “15 Minutes” offers a youthful, energetic opening to the album. The first phrase, “T-shirt and blue jeans, a neon reflector too,” instantly suggests a young demographic, while the percussion adds spunk to the track and a catchy guitar riff synchronizes with the vocals. Continuing some similar themes, “Mr. Cool” maintains the pop sound of the first song, but shakes things up a bit. Flutey background tones lend dynamism to the track, and it slows things down a bit, appropriately for the topic of “being cool.”
“Hotwire” introduces a completely new sound to Spiral Flag. The lead singer, Sean Gavin, with his higher-pitched voice, takes a back seat for baritone guitarist, Gabe Wilhelm, to pound out some vocals while both singers maintain steady, dynamic guitar work. The difference between the two singers is striking, Gavin having a very gritty, edgy voice, while Wilhelm takes the lyrics down a few octaves, incorporating a much throatier tone to the group’s work.
“I’m So Proud” has a distinctly retro-rock flare. Steady drums from Zac Ciancaglini are interspersed with classic guitarwork and a hefty dose of background vocals. Finally, “Glass Eye” concludes the album with a slow cadence, its tempo almost suggesting the rhythm of a ballad. The repetitive guitar-riff, combined with some echo sound-effects at the end, produce a slightly eerie, poignant finish to the track, and thus, to the album as a whole.