Sometimes, a record comes along that blows you away but for the life of you, you can’t figure out why other people aren’t raving about it. Our man Sam had a realisation like this over Fair Ohs Everything Is Dancing album. He writes about why this album should have been on everyone’s playlist.
The first time I heard Everything is Dancing was in 2011 not long after its June release. My initial thought was, “these guys are going to be massive.” Hints of afrobeat, pop, jazz, math rock and boundless, joyful positivity, all encased in a punk spirit. So a few months later I was perplexed to find that no one was talking about them and almost no one had heard of them.
What kind of world was it in which an absolute gem of an album can completely fall through the cracks? Maybe there was one too many similarities with Vampire Weekend? An accusation that was levelled at Fair Ohs a fair amount, but aside from the afrobeat influence I wholeheartedly disagree with that. There was a free-form, punk-like energy in the work of Fair Ohs that never permeated the output of Vampire Weekend.
Years go by, grey hairs come in abundance, and still, no one has heard of them. So I feel that as a spring full of discontent draws to a close and a summer promising – well, further discontent approaches – why not try again to give this ‘tropical punk’ album the exposure it deserves. Every year without fail, as soon as there is an upturn in the weather, I turn to Everything is Dancing. And I talk about it. A lot. My wife is sick to death of hearing about how “it’s a 10 out of 10 album,” and how “despite its superficial similarities to other music, it really is utterly unique.” So instead I’ll tell you.
It comes out of the blocks with the sun soaked angular guitars and thumping percussion of Baldessari, all cut through by the post punk yelps of lead singer Eddy Frankel. The album continues along this basis with a seemingly endless slew of joyous hooks and yelp along choruses, none more so than on the fantastic title track which could lift the spirits of a house brick. The band’s playful personality is all over the album, so much so that it culminates in the wonderful Summer Lake, which is about none other than Chevy Chase.
Fair Ohs did go on to make another very good album (Jungle Cats) before they parted ways, but for me they never got even a fraction of the recognition their music deserved. Sadly I never got to see Fair Ohs play live, but I have heard tales of their prowess and also their penchant for the ridiculous. The band confirmed on their still active Twitter account that whilst supporting WAVVES, they introduced every song by saying “we’re Toto, and this is Africa,” before leaving the stage without ever telling anyone who they were. It is that aforementioned punk spirit that Fair Ohs seemed to radiate, coming across as a group of guys in it for nothing other than the joy of it. They also recently posted a Soundcloud link to their album as it is no longer available on other streaming services, along with a heartfelt message to fans:
‘Our first album got deleted from Spotify/iTunes/etc a few years ago, SO HERE IT IS, FREE, IN FULL. Enjoy that sunny fucking weather, dickheads.‘
Everything is Dancing is well and truly my ‘favourite album that no one has ever heard of.’
If you want to discover more from Fair Ohs, they have a Bandcamp page, and the Soundcloud link to this album is contained below.