Fletcher - Open Arms EP April 9, 2013 / Self-released
There’s a moment on the song “The Road I Take,” the opening track on the debut EP from Chicago trio Fletcher, that vocalist Oscar Baker has nearly gotten away with writing a delicate and belletristic piece of intimate balladry. But in the bat of an eyelash, the song bursts into a chorus that is equal parts memorable, melodic and nothing short of stunning. The title track is a more urgent and antic affair with an immediacy and accessibility that reaches through the speakers and grabs at your collarbone.
Calling to mind both The Kooks and The Strokes, “Open Arms,” has a buzzy and bright brilliance to it that firmly stamps Fletcher as one of Chicago’s burgeoning new talents. Though Baker’s vocals are far removed from Gordon Sumner, there is a slight Police-esque bounce to the buoyant “One By One,” that make the song a perfect tonic for a weekend spent basking in the sun. That sense of belletrism, delicacy and intimacy from the quiet moments of “The Road I Take” are revisited in the fractious “Cheesecake,” a song which seems to quiver and tremble with nervosa, hesitancy and indecision. Baker veers towards falsetto at times and the guitars quietly unravel a gauzy and vernal effort that is as beautiful as it is awe-inspiring.
Open Arms‘ penultimate cut is “More Than You Can Chew,” another direct and to-the-point cut of effervescence that takes awhile to get started, but once it does it is well worth the reward. The whole thing closes out with the meandering and melancholy “Look to the Clouds,” a thought-provoking valentine to rumination and clarity that has a scope and grandeur that seems to scream for bigger stages and greater exposure.
Being that two-third of Fletcher is indeed British (Baker is joined by his brother Harvey on bass), there’s a heavy dose of Brit-rock stylings all over the place and that’s a trait the band can wear with both pride and satisfaction. Whereas many Brit-rock outfits sound cookie-cutter, derivative and borderline copy-cat, Fletcher are unique, charismatic and quite lovely. Give this band some time and then just wait, they’ll be well worth it. Heck, they already are. But throngs of fans await them and if Open Arms is any indication, it might just happen sooner rather than later.