First, I should thank the incredible Cyndi Dawson of The Cynz for having an intuition that I would like this band and their music. She was/is completely right. Second, I should thank Gary Kaplan, the main man behind The Fletchers, for taking the time to write and execute a great album and sending it to me as he also thought I’d enjoy it.
This new album – the fourth – from New Jersey’s The Fletchers, Reset The Dial, is as fine a rock and roll/power pop album as you’re going to hear this year. It has every one of the right elements – melodies, structure, catchiness, harmonies – tight, taught and dynamic. Out of the chute, “Right For You” has the dynamic energy that immediately recalled Paul Weller, during the In The City period – quick and furious and instantly memorable. “What You Want” and “Please Me Now” have that wonderful buzzsaw guitar that naturally harkens back to the best of Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle, complete with perfect, on point harmonies sprinkled throughout. The album’s title track, “Reset The Dial” reminds me of well, me – my own band, The Punch Line – driving, verse, bridge, chorus, middle 8 and economic guitar solo – I love it in all the right ways. “Four Days” is another chipper, with that resonating, crisp guitar that pulses the song through with a classic “ooh, yeah” harmonized chorus and a very Buzzcocks solo – an instant favorite. It’s always unfair to draw comparisons, but close your eyes and you may be able to draw parallels with The Smithereens especially with the beefy guitars.
The band – which is Kaplan on guitar and lead vocals, Dan Coffey on bass, Rob Freda on guitar and Cliff Heaton on drums – has that something special. All four sing; this album sounds like a unified whole (as opposed to many albums that have one member’s vision stamped all over it); there are some deliberate imperfections on it which makes it warmer and more human; it has feel. Which is everything. And I note that it was recorded in the same studio a band I was in recorded our one and only e.p. (not The Punch Line) – Trax East, which knows how to make guitars sound BIG.
Full marks to The Fletchers for putting this delicious piece of shimmering guitar pop on the map; Reset The Dial – and turn it up…