The Fine Art Society are a three-piece alternative rock band hailing from Derby. They consist of Ben Marshall on guitar and vocals, Calvin Wong on bass guitar and Ryan McGonagle on drums. Running for a year, mostly spent practising, the band now feel confident enough to start actively searching for gigs and getting their sound out there to a wider audience.
In a year, the lads have matured quite a bit. On the drums, McGonagle, is a lot more consistent in his playing, and looks much more focused and happier as a result. Lead singer Marshall, dominates the songs with his strong voice, which is reminiscent of a certain Arctic Monkey’s frontman Alex Turner. Wong, on the bass, looks assured as ever and breezes through songs, without a care in the world.
Another improvement are the band’s songs. When I saw them last, they were limited to performing cover versions of other songs. Whilst these were good, and offered different takes of the songs, like ‘Valerie’ by The Zutons, then itself made famous by the late Amy Winehouse and a song the band perfected, but they weren’t new exciting tunes. However, over the last year, the band have been writing original material for the first time, and you know what? It is quite good! The songs take advantage of each individual member’s qualities, Marshall’s ‘laddish’ voice, Wong’s ability to string together nice bass-lines and McGonagle’s new-found timeliness on the drums. The result is a mixture of songs that have been written by mostly Marshall, that work well as the close-knit group they’ve formed over the last year or so. They all wouldn’t be out of place in any other rock group, which is really great for the first ever batch of songs from a band. Choruses are catchy and stick in your head, whilst the sound is always loud and never fails to cease, creating a great atmosphere.
The one comparison which struck me immediately was with the fictional band ‘Sex Bob-Omb‘ from the film ‘Scott Pilgrim vs the World’. The similarities are evident straight away, as both bands have a raw, ‘punchy’ sound that is in your face, and continues on and on. Even the vocals aren’t too far away from one another, with both have an strong feeling of angst among them. This is by no means a criticism and only praise, as I truly loved the music in the film. I know this’ll also please drummer McGonagle as he is a MASSIVE fan of both the books and the film. Below is a sample of ‘Sex Bob-Omb’, to give you a taster!
I believe the band have a massive amount of potential as they look to build on their growing repertoire of original songs and cover versions, can only continue to grow in confidence as they become a close-knit group and perform at more and more gigs in the up-coming future.