[sic] Magazine

FEHM – Circadian Life

Exercising their right to political protest in the studio rather than the streets, FEHM are a gloomy post-punk trio from Leeds – a city with a rich history of anarchic-leaning punk that stretches back, of course, to the Gang of Four and more recently to the likes of Autobahn. Their five-track debut EP, Circadian Life, continues that trudgeful trend, shouting over the “monotony of everyday life and peoples’ struggles” in a manner quite similar to further citymates Eagulls, Paul Riddle’s harsh vocal echoing off the grey angles of brutalist architecture, slate-coloured rain washing away hazy guitars, broken glass crunching under foot and flickering fluorescence.

Urban miserablism thus streaks past at a fast tempo, skywards synths taking cues from another Leeds-based outfit, Hookworms, on “Derailed”, chunky bass work and direct, lurching choruses leading to thermite explosions of guitar on the equally bleak single “Nullify”. The bass is weightier still on EP opener “I Scared, I Stiff”, a track that takes the dystopian angst of someone like Iceage and runs it alongside slo-mo guitar solos slathered in reverb with almost anthemic results.

Alluding to the daily pain of such stupefied existence, jagged distortion bites into the dreamy interplay of Gothic guitars on the tremendous title track, its slightly nauseous lollop bouncing between The Cure’s inevitable influence and the warped reverb stylings of Blank Dogs. Fading in and out on woozy drones, “Fall Into Abjection” closes out with more lowslung bass, ponderous bubbles of menace given a dressing down by Riddle’s impassioned take on Ian McCulloch – a strong voice that has a chance of making itself heard amidst the incessant streams of idle social media chatter and one, what’s more, that is actually worth listening to.

Best track: “I Scared, I Stiff”

~Circadian Life is released 25th November 2016 on cream-coloured 12” via Art Is Hard.~