With Jessica Weiss’ vocals more pronounced than ever, there’s no hiding place for the band’s stark, mythical songwriting. Guitars sound like they’re peering up to the surface from underwater, drum parts are scattered and pronounced, while Weiss has no time for the abstractions that snuck into ‘Loom’. From ‘Undine’’s proud declaration “I’ve done things that mark me out” to the record’s bleak, closing line (“I don’t need you, but I want you so much / Fall forever, fall together”), there’s such a clear purpose behind Fear of Men’s lovely-on-the-outside, subtly saw-toothed pop.
With opener ‘Vesta’, they match Roman goddess imagery with ominous effects. ‘Ruins’ sounds like Chromatics if they ditched the Drive-style high life for a grizzly mountain trek. And in ‘Island’ and ‘Sane’, they’ve written their sharpest melodies to date.
There’s still plenty of room for Fear of Men to grow, but without outside influence, they’re already masters of a unique craft.
For this second endeavor, Fear of Men sought a fuller sound; indeed, Fall Forever has a lot more weight to it. The album incorporates electronic tones and synths that fill out the mix and give the album a more imposing tone that ties it all together better as a whole. The tradeoff to this, though, is that there are fewer of the standout, ear-catching tunes that littered their first LP. The stark "Ruins" is one that rises above the atmospherics, carried by minimalist, droning synths and Weiss' stripped-back vocals. "A Memory" is another, with its Cocteau Twins-ish air and lighter tone. In the end, Fall Forever feels more like an exploratory step forward than a head-to-toe reinvention of the band; it will be even more interesting to see where they go from here.
Fear Of Men in Deutschland:
20. 09.2016 Düsseldorf, FFT
26. 09.2016 Berlin, Kantine am Berghain