By Lindsey Petterson
Release Date: January 19th, 2017
You may have seen the YouTube video of two regular dudes teaching you how to make an Alt-J song with a loop pedal, various percussion, and rice cakes. You probably didn’t know that these guys are Matthew Rogers and Ethan Soil of the band Fleece. Fleece is a jazz influenced alternative rock band from Montreal. The humorous group includes Matthew Rogers on vocals and keys, Ethan Soil on percussion, and Gabe Miller on bass with various touring musicians and features of other musicians on past releases. A few months before their video went viral, they released their first full length album called Scavenger on Jan. 20, 2015. Two years later they released Voyager on Jan. 19, 2017.
Voyager has 10 tracks, including 2 instrumental, that are intended to take the listener on a journey back in time to their adolescence. Rogers reveals in the description on their Bandcamp page that to him, the songs are an observation and reflection of his teenage years. Lyrics hint that the story of the album is about being a closeted teen, because they deal with subtle themes of sexuality. The instrumentation of the album keeps the jazz influenced psych rock that their first LP encompassed with the addition of more synth and experimental sounds, and less traditional instruments typically heard in jazz bands.
The album starts off with “Under the Light”, a dreamy message to an unknown individual, possibly to Rogers’ past self in attempt to comfort what cannot be changed. A couple tracks later, there is an instrumental tune titled “Voyager” that translates time travel into sound. The track is synth-heavy with alternative percussion that takes the listener away from the present time. Each track flows comfortably to the next, keeping the themes of communicating with and analyzing the past in the lyrics, and time travel in the instrumentation. The latter half of the album continues to evoke psychological exploration in the listener, specifically in “Fried Eggs”. Rogers sings “time goes on, there’s nothing in this world can deny us away from all” leaving the listener to decide if time is for us or against us. No song strikes me as a single, but because the album flows so well with the story. The album as a whole is sincerely relatable for a broad audience so it is worth a listen.