In the wave of aggressive pop artists of the past few years, Tennessee-born, Pennsylvania-based quartet Fuel led the way on the radio waves with their single “Shimmer” off of their million-selling album Sunburn. Now, in the face of new offerings by bands like Filter and Creed, Fuel is still near the front of the pack with their most recent album, Something Like Human.
The group, consisting of guitarist/ vocalist Brett Scallions, guitarist Carl Bell, bassist Jeff Abercrombie, and drummer Kevin Miller, have received rave reviews from most of the major music magazines for both albums and deservedly so. More important than any singles the band might put out is the consistent quality on their albums. Whereas many bands today shoot for making an album with three or four highly marketable singles, Fuel seems to put their faith in making albums that are cohesively rocking. And if a single should happen to arise, well that’s just icing on the cake.
The songs are a mix of light, jangly guitar chords with a little drama mixed in by loud, punchy power chords and catchy choruses. Fuel proves their merit lyrically as well as musically on songs like “It’s Come to This,” from Sunburn, with poetic lines like, “And I found my head uncrowned and all life’s sweet necter flowing down / the cracks and seams wasted on some petty little prayers / reached up for despair but I was well below that cherished stage / and all my mangled hopes all songs unsung.” It’s a far cry from the “I love you / I hate you / pump up my ego / let’s screw” content of Limp Bizkit-dominated mainstream radio.
They started as a cover band, as most bands do, out of Kenton, Tennessee. Upon realizing, however, that they were interested in a more original and long-lasting career, they packed up and moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where they would gain a larger fanbase by playing shows and self-releasing the EPs Fuel and Porcelain. After a sold-out 1997 show at local Millersville University, Sony Records signed the boys, and they quickly began recording Sunburn. The studio album featured one of the songs from Porcelain, a little ditty called “Shimmer,” that had become a local hit. It became a national hit as well, and Fuel was well on their way to becoming famous.
Many appearances on talk shows and soundtracks (one track, “Walk the Sky,” was featured on the Godzilla soundtrack and was produced by legendary Pearl Jam and Rage Against the Machine producer Brendan O’Brien). Later, Fuel is enjoying the limelight, and as long as they keep putting out work consistent with their past two albums, they deserve it.
Last Minute Productions managed to snag Fuel for a show at the Ramsey Center on Thursday, May 3. Tickets are $12 in advance for students, and $18 for non-students, and everyone who shows up at the door. If word on the street is any indication, Fuel’s live show is even more volatile and entertaining than their albums. For more information, call 1-828-227-7206.