Fast incredulous punks Fawn Spots take a spot on the floor and listen to the sounds of Husker Du and their likes, hoping one day they can make something half as punx. Forward however many years and From Safer Place tears things up in all the right ways, maintaining that screeching, unfiltered energy but tempering it with honest-to-god pop music.
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Absolutely incredible shit, to be honest. Sometimes I think Japandroids would have been way better if they’d never been invited to those parties and hadn’t started watching sports; a less happy garage punk band with the same forward momentum and dedication to dual vocals would be something. Now there’s Fawn Spots, though -- a York outfit who shred up the fast but lite hardcore of Husker Du and channel it through a blizzard of misanthropy -- and I feel like I’m living in my own post-punk lucid dream. For real.
‘From Safer Place’ is a ferocious wind tunnel of a punk album, and it carries just enough self-reflection to also feel kinda beautiful. (Is that ridiculous I don’t care.) The band impressively dive between ferocity and melody, treating the two forces like an odd couple that counterbalance each other for the sake of survival. “A Certain Pleasure” is a mix of torrential percussion -- the last gasp before falling off a steep cliff face -- and guitars that wind out into a passage of sad emo breakdown. Both bits are vitally catchy in different ways, and the band perfectly navigates the genre territories before spewing more dual vomit vocals. “Black Water” goes on the same formula again, resting on a moment of barbed wire, chord-chugging frustration, shot through with monotonous vocal harmonies that recall Unwound at their most sympathetically unpleasant.
This is fire. It's every punk offshoot of the 21st century lovingly balanced on a scale. A bit pop-punk, certifiably hxc, catching the no wave and subliminally emo, it mainly just shreds -- especially “Remains”, in which screeching guitars and tired voices sound like they’re reaching an inevitable decay. Good on them for going at an easy pace and opting for slacker riffs on the following track (which eventually goes into another riff that reminds me of "There She Goes" on a Slint hype). Rest up.
So good that I’m currently spinning the vinyl and listening to the CD at the same time.
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- From Safer Place by Fawn Spots
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