World Leader Pretend “Fit for Faded”

World Leader Pretend
Fit for Faded
Renaissance Records

When starting out — in music and all other dabblings — it’s best to go with what you know. World Leader Pretend is evidently familiar with this practice; which is good, as long as the band equally understands the importance of progression.

The New Orleans quartet recently released its debut LP, Fit for Faded, which is an exquisite piece of indie-rock. It’s especially good because it’s WLP’s first time up to the plate. It isn’t pretentious rubbish, but it isn’t groundbreaking either. And it probably sounds awfully familiar, which is the album’s attraction. The 11 tracks are essentially Travis and Radiohead b-sides, circa 1997.

The first three tracks on the album (hopefully a sign of things to come) give the impression that the album’s sound is fresh. But they are the lone signs of novel creativity on Fit for Faded.

“Panic Button” is a wash of cowbells and keyboards flowing lazily into a dreamy guitar riff, which gives way to the song’s vocal/ percussion/ guitar tornado of a chorus. “The Driving Rain” is a lethargic acoustic ditty equipped with spooky keyboards, while “Your Tax Dollars at Work” and its sonic, white-man rap leads into a U2-style chorus break.

The rest of the tunes on the record showcase the battle of main artistic themes in the band; whether they should play like Radiohead or Travis.

WLP’s penchant for Travis pops up on “A Small Thought” and “Fire with Fire.” The strummy guitars and balladeer vocals (I’m starting to like bad films ’cause they remind me of/ my life and all the over-rated screenplay loves) make for bashfully bliss sentiments that are no stranger to the Travis catalog.

After listening to this album, one thing is overwhelmingly true. Lead singer Keith Ferguson tends to sound exactly like Thom Yorke. And with a voice like that, your band will never go unnoticed.

On the title track “Fit for Faded” and “Headlights,” Ferguson’s voice is the centerpiece of broody, dream-rock reminiscent of OK Computer. His falsetto, whether building to crescendo or writhing with desire, is the setting for the embrace of instrumental soundscapes.

The finale of Fit for Faded is another Radiohead-esque tune, “Theme.” The song is one of the best examples of WLP using their musical influences as a springboard for it’s own sound — not quite unique, but the band may be getting there. The epic song includes brass and piano solos melding with spirited guitar work, and the tune winds down with an inspiring sing-along over instrumental amalgamation.

If WLP sounds like one of the greatest bands of our time on it’s debut record, the band is not far-off base musically. WLP made a great record, and might be poised to become a great band — as long as these guys don’t drown in the sea of their own influences.

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