FLEETING FOXES: The Philly trio likes to balance seriousness and playfulness.
“We treat each song as if it’s our smash hit, something that if we’re having fun, chances are, you are too,” says Matt Amadio, the drumming, singing third of Philadelphia’s The Fleeting Ends. “It’s the thrill of writing those types of tunes that keeps us in the game.”
Amadio is talking about the dynamic power-pop sound, crisp, two-part harmonies and driving rhythms that have fueled the band since he got together with vocalist/guitarist Matt Vantine in Upper Darby in 2008. (The singing, songwriting Matts recruited bassist Russell Langley shortly after.)
“We call it controlled derangement,” says the drummer.
After one lean, mean single, “Revival,” and a brusque, garagey EP, Goldmine in the Gutter, The Fleeting Ends are finally dropping a full-length album. Our Eyes Are Peeled is a magnificent display of Beatles-esque grandeur. The trio’s strong suit, its taut sense of melody, is on full display.
What’s bigger and bolder is the singers’ harmonies, as produced by knob-twiddler, MilkBoy Studio founder and the band’s manager Tommy Joyner. The vocals aren’t just sweepingly large or sweet, they are muscular and lustful. Add to those harmonies a string section led by arranger Larry Gold — aka “Don Cello,” legendary keystone of the Gamble & Huff sound — and the whole of Our Eyes Are Peeled is a warmly orchestrated charmer.
Vantine and Amadio bonded over the Beatles, the Doors and Pink Floyd, and those influences ring true on Our Eyes Are Peeled. “We wanted to achieve what we heard on our favorite records,” he says. “One evening after listening to Abbey Road together, we knew what we had to do. We’ve been writing ever since.”
Balancing “seriousness and playfulness,” he says, is their number-one goal where songcraft is concerned, with Vantine picking up the lyrical slack. “I couldn’t trust anyone else with lyrics,” says Amadio. “The kid can write.”
According to Amadio, the album didn’t come easy. The process was fraught with “moments of frustration and anger followed by waves of relief and laughter.” Despite (or because of) all that, the pair have delivered their most poignant moments yet, with songs such as “I’m Like That” and “Little People” among their favorites. “Getting back to that idea of ours, where we’ve got a fine line separating seriousness and playfulness. To me, these songs are the closest we’ve come to achieving that.”
Fri., Oct. 18, 9:15 p.m., $10, with The Lawsuits and The Districts, Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 215-739-9684, johnnybrendas.com.
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