2014 is the year that turns back the pages to 1994, 1984, and then hurdles them forward, as if 2004 was but a forgotten and imagined figment. Consider the beauty of the two movement suite, of “Alta / Waterfall” from Brighton's Fear of Men, off their upcoming album Loom for Kanine. The sparse introductory song mixes sweet and shared feelings with the idea of created landscapes and coupled existences.
Jess Weiss leads the trio with her vocal pursuit of beauty on the softly sung opener, “Alta”. Intimate invitations and expression are beckoned by the background organ breaths and close embrace that shuts out, “the hopelessness of always wishing for something else.” This is where “Waterfall” begins, with Jess's voice echoing the worlds and natural realms created by the band like a world for lovers to inhabit and inherit. Like the retro pieces found on Fear of Men's Early Fragments collection, “Alta / Waterfall” finds the three blending their vintage indie affinities with the poetic notions of the canonical masters. Mixing the metaphysical with the modern, they are steered by the prose and production that creates no other world-aside from their very own.
We inquired further into the generative and lush scenes of Brighton with Fear of Men, over a few long-distance cables.
Favorite things about the Brighton scenes?
It's pretty diverse and supportive, and there's a steady stream of new people moving in and out of town, so it's always changing. Basically everyone is a musician here which is good for collaborations. We were recording a b-side the other day and decided that it needed a vibraphone part, and the cool thing about Brighton is you are bound to know someone who owns a vibraphone and can record a part for you. We've had a few instances like that where friends have been really generous with their time to help us out
Tell us about the process of creating the staggering heights of “worlds outside on our own” with “Alta / Waterfall”.
The lyric's actually about 'show(ing) me there's no world outside our own,' which was partly about the all consuming feeling of closeness in a relationship- it's slightly based on the John Donne poem, “The Sun Rising“, where he writes about lovers in bed, and the feeling that there is nothing else in the world, but it also mirrored the claustrophobic, single minded approach we take to our music, where it consumes our energy, and feels like we're creating our own world through it.
Reflections from recording your forthcoming album Loom for Kanine, and what to expect?
Loom was recorded in a subterranean studio mostly at night, which lent an element of the claustrophobia mentioned before, and that really shaped the album for us. We produced the record ourselves and took the time to work on particular sounds and atmospheres for each song. We played a lot with contrasts, putting something really stripped back and sparse next to a part that is really densely layered, and I think that is exemplified by “Alta” and “Waterfall”. Loom is a dark, pop record with an increased use of texture and more experimentation with arrangement than our previous singles.
Further plans for spring, summer, 2014?
We're going to be touring worldwide, we have something exciting to announce with regards to America soon, and are already eager to get started on our second record.
Fear of Men's Loom will be available April 19 on Record Store Day pressed on limited edition, deluxe two-toned vinyl edition with digital, vinyl and CD available April 22 from Kanine Records. Pre-order courtesy of the band.