Friends Don't Speak
By: Eric Greenwood
Wise beyond its teenage years, Jackson, Mississippi's Fletcher produces a challenging set of gut-wrenching rock played with astute technical precision and a penchant for off-kilter time signatures and unexpected stops and starts. The band goes out of its way to distance itself from all that is emo, but I'm not exactly buying it. The emotional outpouring isn't bathed in histrionics or attention-grabbing stunts, but it is central to the band's message, even if it is supported with enough tension to back it all up (much akin to Roadside Monument or, perhaps, even early Cursive). The aggression and angst seem genuine, which in a way do somehow separate Fletcher from the shameless droves of crybaby, mall punk nightmares named after classic literature and midwestern beltways. The cascading textures of "The Army Arose" prove Fletcher is not naïve to the art of dexterous math-rock, either. It's all rather impressive for a band so young. Jesse Coppenbarger's voice switches seamlessly between restrained singing and a guttural rasp. The band's debut album, Friends Don't Speak, was recorded in a quick burst early last year in Atlanta by Matt Goldman (Jet By Day, Copeland), where Coppenbarger made his vocal passes in one take. In the end, though, it's the complex guitar interplay that steals the show, but the potential for greatness looms large within Fletcher's sphere.