Live Note: Fear of Men @ The Echo, July 17, 2016


Their very name, their album art – photos referencing art and archeological artifacts, framed with stark serifed text – and oblique song titles – “Alta,” “Vesta,” “Onsra,” for example – may give off a sort of sterility or coldness, but in fact there’s a comfort and warmth, even a playfulness, to the pop of Fear of Men, even more so live, as evidenced at their show Sunday night at The Echo. A fairly polished production for a relatively young act, the good looking Brighton act revolve around Jess Weiss’s vocals – soft and steady, with a keen innate melodic sense. She slots nicely into a lineage of formidable English indie forbearers such as Amelia Fletcher and the late Trish Keenan. Ostensibly “dream pop,” their basic sound is Weiss’s top line floating above the wash of Daniel Flavey’s guitar and FX pedal work (it’s a bit incongruous to see him wringing his guitar about when often the sounds extracted are so reverberated and diffuse) with the engine driven by Michael Miles’s crisp, heady drumming. (They are bolstered on the current tour by a capable bassist/keyboardist whose name I did not catch.) The intelligent new LP, Fall Forever (Kanine Records), builds on the precision and restraint in their debut Loom, while delving more into songs shaped from processed tones and electronic textures. Lead single “Island” goes over huge as the opener, immediately showcasing these newer sonics, pulled off without backing tracks or samples. When they do throw the switch into more traditional guitar-driven shoegaze mode and get louder and faster, as on set closer “Inside,” it’s the exception and feels earned, an exclamation point. All in all, a winning set

Fear of Men |