[sic] Magazine

Fear Of Men – Fall Forever

Dreams become nightmares when they’re scary, but there’s no such distinction for sad dreams. Fall Forever is one such encounter, a intangible run through melancholy synth-pop over which Jessica Weiss coos and mews heavy-heartedly on the subjects of displacement, love and disappointment. Fall Forever is the follow-up to 2014’s Loom and Fear Of Men have again taken its melodic indie-pop structure as the base here, pulling at its fabric all the same so it frays, slashing at its construct to create a confetti of dark composition. Stitching the whole back together again in minimal fashion, Weiss, Daniel Falvey and Michael Miles incorporate great areas of reverbed space, filling only parts of it with their ghostly stutter of modern, R&B-inflected pop.

Quickfire snares prevent nebulous melodies from drifting off entirely and becoming too saccaharine, Weiss’s dreamy vocal charting the synth peaks of stuttering, multi-tracked choral work. If this all sounds like the makings of a love album that’s because Fall Forever is one, but as well as dealing with intimacy so too does it discuss “distance and violence” and bruised torch songs tracks like “A Memory”, for example, do indeed conform to type. Those clinical compressions of the skittering drum machine, however, introduce a persistent theme of menace that buzzing synth work continues. This comes to a head during the surging choruses of “Until You” – a track with delusions of “Blue Monday” despite its garbled vocal samples and guitar that sashays like strings.

Fall Forever is often emotionally suffocating, Weiss’s haunting vocal and her abstract lyrics containing vestiges of Kate Bush as they cut through cloying cymbal simmer and soft keys. What’s striking then is, in spite of the liberal use of pedal effects and electronic corruption, how smooth and samey an album it remains. The very welcome exception to the rule comes in the svelte form of “Ruins”. Its percussion is stripped back to stark rattles, Weiss’s high register downright pitiful in contrast to the ominous bass. Differing predominantly in terms of tempo, Fall Forever’s dreamy pace is slowed into temporary narcolepsy to allow for a sweet slow-motion drop, the equivalent of your neck popping over a good read when sleep is close. The dreams you’ll have when you get there as close to something as nothing will get.

Best track: “Ruins”

~Fall Forever is released June 3rd 2016 via Kanine.~