Hailing from Modesto, California, Fiver could be mistakenly linked to Pavement, which also emerged out of the sleepy Northern California town. Although the comparison would not be too far gone in some respects -- both bands play a mutated version of accepted pop structures -- it would be impossible to directly connect the two sounds. While Pavement excelled at noodling about in the more structured guitar/angst/alternative format, Fiver comes off as a spacey, Saccharin-drenched mood band. Depending more on feel than directly on melody and lyricism (although both exist in abundance on the band's two records, 1998's Eventually Something Cool Will Happen
and this year's Strings for Satellites
), Fiver is a pop band that would fit in just as easily at the beach house game room as in any nightclub or barroom jukebox. Bands that steep themselves in atmospherics as much as Fiver usually tend to bore, but the band manages to keep things pretty interesting by homing in on the tiniest shards of its influences -- a lilting My Bloody Valentine-type melody, a Neutral Milk Hotel vocal, a Beach Boys groove, or a surf guitar shimmy -- and melting them into its own swirl of sound. Coming from one of indie rock's most unusual label-as-lifestyle situations (the San Francisco-based imprint Devil in the Woods) probably helps such a band maintain its quirky integrity, but ultimately none of that matters if the sounds the band makes don't hold up. Fiver mines unusual pop territory for gems that may not be so valuable to most people, but for those who like their rock music to be shiny, smooth, and fairly soft, Fiver may well have struck gold.