The seven members of Fierce Creatures make songs as coordinated as NFL strategists’ plays. There are hairpin verses leading to flat-out choral straights. Choppy distorted guitars can give way to acoustic strumming as naturally as picking up one guitar and putting the other down. It’s uncompromising and unbridled pop from a tight-knit group of musicians.
This indie orchestra was culled from Fresno locals beginning over a decade ago. In the early 2000s bassist Nathaniel Stiers met guitarist and vocalist Mathr DeLeón through a friend. Fliers they put up looking for a drummer were taken down by Tomas Galvan to eliminate competition. He auditioned for and got a spot in the band. Things continued in like fashion: DeLeón knew guitarist Joel Melton, Melton knew singer Amanda Valdez, and Mike Adame on keys and guitarist/mandolin Jon Rulloda rounded out the lineup. Despite the size it never felt crowded. “We try to be as democratic as possible, so we tend to have regular meetings and vote on things like directions for albums, producers, career decisions, things like that,” says Stiers.
After a lengthy tour of many misadventures—some of which you can see in the tour diary posted below—the band went into a recording studio on Mission and Fifth in San Francisco. The band’s sound and taste don’t come so much from artists per se. The FC approach is about production, with names like Phil Spector, Brian Wilson and Brian Eno serving as inspiration. The result is a five-track EP called I Mostri Feroci.
The EP is something like the Beach Boys meets MGMT. There’s a spiraling, palm-muted guitar line on “Phantom Athletes” that slips into a Roy Orbison twang with uncanny ease. The opener, “Satan Is A Vampire,” is a total rush, with all of the band members whoa-oh-oh-oh-ing at the top of their lungs. DeLeón’s vocals tow a shrill line while Valdez’s are universally smooth. Combined they form a good vocal palate for the lyrics. The pair mostly sings about mountains and sunsets and detached, dreamy stuff while the instrumentation steals the show. Glockenspiels, mandolins, tambourines and maracas make up a lively texture. The meat is a wall of drums and a masterful effort on guitars, though keys add some electric shimmer to tracks like “Harpooning.”
The band will be busy this new year, appearing again at SXSW, recording a full-length album, some videos, as well as trying to get a limited edition B-sides album pressed to vinyl.
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