[sic] Magazine

frYars – Dark Young Hearts

Not many people beat Patrick Wolf to the punch, but frYars (aka Ben Garrett) did, acquiring a Bandstocks account to finance the self-release of his album, before Wolf did the same with his Bachelor album. The similarity doesn’t stop there. If Lycanthropy floated your boat, chances are you’ll find something of interest in the flamboyant Young Dark Hearts. It seems the pair have been rubbing off on one another, if you’ll excuse the unfortunate imagery conjured.

Anyway, such production methods challenge the order of things in the music industry, but aren’t quick. It has been well over 18 months since Garrett released the brilliantly baffling The Ides EP, followed by the single ‘Olive Eyes’, both of which are here comprised and still shimmer darkly like an 80s Leonard Cohen DJing some Pet Shop Boys bash.

The rest of Dark Young Hearts continues this 80s electro-pop template, here a touch of Depeche Mode (Dave Gahan even cameoing on ‘Visitors’), there a little Duran Duran. The opener, ‘Jerusalem’, even suggests at David Byrne, but the feel is definitely more bedroom than stadium-sized.

frYars has successfully tapped the vein marked ‘interesting, bouncy charm’, but also all too often the ones marked ‘smug indulgence’ and ‘lightweight’. Though it pains to say it, an overseeing label would probably have curtailed this, insisting on uniformity. And if there’s one thing Patrick Wolf does beat frYars at, it’s uniform.