FAN is a new project from Meric Long of the Dodos. When creating a debut album, the majority of emergent bands will stop at nothing to cram as many songs as possible into their imminent release. Sometimes, a track-heavy sequence can be potent for avid music fans; an album that stretches as far as ten to eleven tracks – if not more – can provide numerous listening binges and a great soundtrack for the daily grind. More often than not, however, lengthy collections of songs appear as overdone versions of an album that attempts to convey a simple overarching theme in a drawn-out auditory story.
This tragically ironic, and painfully common, final result of music production is a failure that FAN have managed to successfully avoid with their debut two-track release. Throughout the uniquely miniscule album, the band convey a fantastically concise expression of fervent, realistic emotion – marking an achievement that most groups fail to attain in a dozen, let along a couple of songs.
Fire imbues the first half of the album with a sentiment of pain so strong, every sting of sadness and burst joy depicted by the lyrics will strike a chord of familiarity with listeners. Entering on a tide of giant sweeps of heavy synth bass and futuristic electro notes, the track begins by initiating the connection between sound and meaning that dominates the album; throughout the song, lyrics and music work together interchangeably to convey the wrench of heartbreak.
Verses woven with lyrical guitar playing and the harrowing echo of a distraught vocalist align precede a consistent chorus of cacophonous thrashing guitars, ominous synth base and blasts of shouted singing to form an intriguing combination of discordant styles that – surprisingly – rolls into an attractive blend of different music. Whilst relating a similar theme of lonely isolation, Disappear, conversely, concludes the overall sequence with lilting vocals, a slower instrumental pace and a more gradual musical development than its predecessor. Sound effects in the guise of train whistles introduce the piece, creating an eerie musical backdrop that accentuates the image unrelenting hopelessness painted by the clever choice of lyrics. Electro chords and heavy synth chords arrive soon after the opening to suffuse the track with a mysterious lure.
Their debut album demonstrates an impressive ability to express an array of musical styles and themes within a tight framework – representing an auditory masterpiece of which FAN deserve to be immensely proud. Delivering a deep exploration in sounds and sensations throughout, here is a musical project that offers a radical interpretation of modern music.
review by Beth And