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REVIEW: Fear of Men – Loom

Posted on Thursday, 13 March by

Fear of Men - Loom

4 Stars

Every now and then, a new band comes along with a very self-conscious approach to their music. They understand their sonic roots and are able to guide it with alarming accuracy. Brighton dream-pop band Fear Of Men are just that.

One of their earliest releases ‘Phantom Limb’ has turned out to be their most jubilant pop song but beneath the fuzzy joy lurks murky textures that are ever-present in all of their tracks. It’s no surprise when you consider Jessica Weiss’ Fine Art beginnings that has meant she’s never strayed too far from the ambient nature of sound.

But while singles collection Early Fragments left exposed edges, debut album Loom is the full package – demonstrated immediately by the way opener ‘Alta’ simmers with ghostly aesthetics before seamlessly floating into a refreshing ‘Waterfall’ punctuated by soaring melodies. This mixture of pop sensibilities and shadowy atmospherics isn’t new but Fear Of Men achieve it with such verve that you forget where you might have heard this combination before. Instead you’re enthralled, submitting to Jessica’s tender vocals that lead you through the album.

And they’re able to adjust the ratio of the mixture at will: ‘Tephra’ is awash with scratchy textures cut with cathartic lyrics while the C86-inspired jangly guitars of ‘Descent’ masks the unashamedly bleak lyrics.

But Fear Of Men don’t weave desolate soundscapes aimlessly. ‘Seer’ is forthright with its instrospection when it asks “Do you know what to do when you’re on your own?” and the hazy fog only reinforces the uncertainty that Jessica burdens listeners with.

Loom is like a still night’s sky; dense darkness prowls the air above while the sharp moonlight is tempered only by wispy clouds. It’s the kind of album that suits the introspective solitude of the night where you only have yourself and your own thoughts. And the fuzzy textures obscure the answers much like it does when you confront yourself with difficult philosophical question.

But it’s not completely dystopian. As you flitter from the brooding, reflectiveness of ‘Vitrine’ to the glossy energy of ‘Luna’ you realise that this fuzzy debut album isn’t completely engulfed by shadows.

Find out how you can pre-order the album here.

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Matt Yau

Matt Yau

Showcase Critic at SQ Magazine
Freelance music journalist with a reputation in Sussex for uncovering new music. Has led SQ Magazine's 'Showcase' since 2013. Obsessive thinker, habitual music listener and timid photographer.
Matt Yau

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