Fierce Mellon
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Fierce Mellon

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The best kept secret in music

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"Sunrise at the Duck Pond Review"

Fierce Mellon - Sunrise at the Duck Pond

Review #1 - Casey Best

One of the most unintentionally funny things about band websites is the band's biography of itself. It's hard to find a biography that is lacking in both pretentiousness and ego-stoking. For example, if one was to hear a band's sound described as a "psychedelic experimental progressive jam funk blues-based rockish sound with metal influences," one could pretty much assume that some aspect of the description isn't true--or that they're trying to do too many things at once. Luckily, in the case of Geneva-based Fierce Mellon, a band occasionally lives up to its description and blows away expectation.

Fierce Mellon crosses into a variety of different moods and sounds throughout the EP--although I'd say that they "groove" throughout. The first track opens with falling rain and accordion sounds. After a minute, bass and drums are added and the song transitions into a beautiful Spanish guitar solo. After two minutes, the keyboardist comes in with a solo that seems to demand that the listener "sucks his funk." The rest of the song mixes repetition and improvisation to a skillful effect, keeping the listener enthralled until the end.

That song is pretty representative of the album. Although each song is distinctly different from the one before it, they're united in their quality. Some of the songs have distorted guitars that add a metal touch, and a couple feature some smooth groovin' vocals. All of these are pulled off with the skill of veteran rockers, despite being recorded by pre-20 year olds. The only downside about the album, as is often the case with great EP's, is that it is too short. Check 'em out at http://www.fiercemellon.com/.

Review #2 - Jeremy Turinetti

As I put this CD in my CD player I honestly had no idea what to expect. What I ended up hearing was more than I expected.

Fierce Mellon dishes out their funky jam-band style in their CD titled Sunrise at the Duck Pond complete with flurries of speedy guitar licks and bluesy melody lines. For the most part, the CD consists of instrumental pieces, with the guitar and keyboards alternating between melody and solo. As I listened to the CD, certain chord structures periodically reminded me of the Incubus's Fungus Amongus, even though Mellon showcases a much more relaxed, less intense musical presentation than the Fungus album. However, lack of raw intensity is not a negative aspect by any means. The album made me want to sit back and relax. The guitarist whipped out some talented bluesy lines on every track comparable to some of those blistering Satriani-style riffs that are his trademark. When the player hit track five, the jazzy "Professor Pennywhistle's Daddy Pants Boogie," I seriously thought I was in a secret agent film from the 70's. Track 7, "Phoenix Eulogy," boasted more of a piano-driven melody spiced up with a repetitive guitar line. There is a lot of evident talent here; each member knows his instrument and how to use it to complement the others. - www.openingbands.com


"Swedish Days Blurb"

On the festival music front, Fierce Mellon, a group of 2003 Geneva High School graduates, showed extraordinary talent with a brand of music you don’t normally see embraced by musicians this young — strains of Pink Floyd mixed in with jam sessions reminiscent of Grateful Dead material. Fierce Mellon is composed of Brian Baxter on drums, Jake Fitzenreider on guitar, Francis Zaander on keyboard and Alex Freeman on bass. - The Daily Herald (http://www.dailyherald.com/news/kanecolumnists.asp?column=fenneran&id=69515)


Discography

Sunrise at the Duck Pond EP
Tracks-
1. Accordian Metaphor for Life in A Minor
2. Territorial Imperitive: Creepy Things
3. Territorial Imperitive: Crazy Doings
4. Carpal Tunnel
5. The Daddy Pants Boogie
6. Franks and Beans
7. Pheonix Eulogy

www.myspace.com/fiercemellon
Downloadable and Streamable tracks-
1. The Daddy pants Boogie
2. Rudy (Live)

For download on www.fiercemellon.com
1. Downtown (Live)
2. The Daddy Pants Boogie (Sunrise EP)
3. Carpal Tunnel (Sunrise EP)
4. Pheonix Eulogy (Sunrise EP)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Fierce Mellon is comprised of four members from suburban Chicagoland. Jake Fitzenreider, Francis Zaander, Alex Freeman, and Brian Baxter formed in the halls of a typical suburban high school and were driven to create music that was more interesting, musical, and experimental than the sea of bands around them that were creating unoriginal, boring, music comprised of punk, pop, and alternative rock. This situation may have sparked their creation but it did bring the band to its great potential. The bands potential was not realized until almost one year after it formed. Here is that story.
The scene was a battle of the bands at a fraternity house at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL. Fierce Mellon had just taken second place when they were approached by a student. He asked them to play a house party later that night. Without a second thought Fierce Mellon accepted and packed up their gear to head to the house. The room was less than ideal. It was a metal garage with a tiny PA and the drum set was smashed into corner. People filed in and had some cocktails as the set began. After an hour of playing there was a set break and the band members discussed what was to be played for the next set and while the band has a lot of material much of it had already been covered. "Lets just play tango and see what happens." As the infectious beat of “Tango” began the crowd began dancing in this tiny room and the band embarked on a set that would truly show them the remarkable chemistry they posses. The set weaved in and out of songs, each one with more energy than the next, sections of cover songs appeared then disappeared as quickly as they came, and even a crowd member became an impromptu MC with a freestyle verse over an improvised hip hop beat. The band was just as oblivious to what would happen next as the crowd, but they pushed on. After the party is over, the patrons stumbled out a little tipsy but very sweaty. This moment was not the peak of something but rather a new beginning as the band truly realized their ability to create music in the moment, and take the crowd on a rollercoaster ride of music, improvisation, and energy. It was this moment that they were not just a culmination of their influences but something truly original.
While it cannot be denied that the band has a strong influences from bands such as Radiohead, Phish, Dream Theater, Pink Floyd, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Sigur Ros, Keith Jarrett, and even Rage Against the Machine, they have not just tried to emulate their favorite bands. The band is still very young as the oldest member is almost 22 years old and the youngest is 20 years old but the band has come a long way in their 3 years playing together. At their conception they played blues rock danceable instrumentals. As they have progressed they have incorporated a new love of creating moodier sound-scapes and more improvisation into their music and live performances. This was sparked by their monumental performance in that tiny garage in Bloomington, IL. While they do hold the title of “jam band,” the band feels that this label lumps them in with the formulaic jam bands that have seemed to flood the country. This does not do Fierce Mellon justice, as they push the envelope of experimentation as opposed to falling back on a playing guitar solos for hours.