Fear Of Men present their second full-length record, Fall Forever. The sleeve are offers a guide to their sound: sensual, intimate and close, yet also abstracted, made strange by unusual textures. That darkness is very welcome, as it casts an interesting light on the group’s highly capable modern pop. Out on Kanine.
6/10 Clinton Staff review, 01 June 2016Fear of Men on their second album remind me of my own life at the moment - kind of directionless and moribund. I’ve had this CD sat on my car seat for three days but this morning's listen while traversing Pontefract Road didn’t exactly inspire. They play a kind of pleasant electronic guitar pop that relies on an odd hammering drum machine that never lets up and the keening if samey vocals of Jess Weiss. If they are wanting to be a guitar psych type band the drum machine is holding them back. A real drummer would give them so much oomph and unlike, say, Broadcast on 'Tender Buttons' the songs aren’t great enough to render a bigger production unnecessary. There is the odd good moment on ‘Island’ which has a rather Julia Holter style melody in the verses if lacking a chorus that is pretty but never truly hits and you wonder if they are as bored as I am during the breakdown. It feels unfair to complain that a band is both too samey and too varying - they try the odd ambient slice between tracks that doesn’t particularly offer much, but then the guitar pop songs on their own just roll into one, same vocal intonations, same strange drum machine sound. They hit somewhere between the XX, London Grammar and a malfunctioning drum machine. I feel like I’m kicking a puppy here. There are moments where you want the singer out of their comfort zone and thrown that infernal drum machine in the bin and remind them of what made their their debut 'Loom' with its Smithsisms and Lushisms such fun but here in trying to create a modern sheen Fear of Men have stripped away a lot of their charm.
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