Those on the outside looking in on the Detroit music scene still find it necessary to marvel when they hear something coming out of this city that "isn't garage rock." But those who've been following the growth of the city's vibrant and disparate music scene know that just about every sound or style is here for the taking these days.
For those who've been seeking some psychedelic freak-out with their jangly indie rock, look no further than the Oscillating Fan Club. The quartet was started by Ray Thompson and Pierce Reynolds in 2004, and their mutual love for the British Invasion — both the first poppy and second psychedelic wave — is abundantly clear on their debut full-length album. All the right lyrical touchstones are present: paranoia, girl troubles, girl worship, dreamy imagery and at least one reference to "the ether." But before you consider writing them off as derivative, they're not just some half-baked stoners happy to churn out regurgitated and uninspired '60s guitar wonk. No, the Oscillating Fan Club has higher ambitions and too much talent to settle for that. Loud and clear amid the psych haze is a whole slew of wide-ranging influences and ideas, including hard nods to proto-punk and, again, psychedelic rock. Adding these influences to the plenty of other stuff from the last four decades risks serious stylistic overload. Yet the Oscillating Fan Club manages to evade catastrophe. That's what happens when your band members celebrate and blend their personal musical obsessions.
Awash in reverb, fuzzed-out organ, echoed vibes, Rickenbacker rock-out and bouncy tempos, Feverish Dreams is the culmination of a successful melding of its parts. So take your girl out to see the Oscillating Fan Club. Just make sure she's in her party hat, black boots and red dress and ready to party like it's ... well, 1969.
Laura Witkowski reviews music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].