[sic] Magazine

The Fatales – Great Surround

This is the nicest, unexpected surprise in a long while, possibly since RAY’s Death In Fiction album last year? The Fateles promo fell into my mailbox a couple of weeks ago. The package was postmarked France so I foolishly assumed they were French. As a result on first listen I was sharpening my pencil in anticipation of clever comparisons with the likes of Kim Novak. Not so. False alarm. (sorry France) The Fatales are based in New York. And yet, there are more than mere European leanings in evidence across Great Surround. This is the kind of music that would grace a European metropolis. Preferably one of the cold, grey, decadent sort. A Berlin or a Prague. A Budapest or even a Paris. Any vast, lonely place where the raindrops collect in our eyes, masking the tears and blurring an oppressive world view.

This album is steeped in that kind of mood. Eerie, dreamy, never sinister, the music itself is essentially a mixture of 80’s new wave and, well, believe it or not, Broadway show. Phantom Of The Interpol. A ‘Killers musical’ would be closer still. Let’s run with the Killers thing a bit more. Imagine our Vegas boys, after Hot Fuss, eschewing Springsteen and Meatloaf in favour of Angelo Badalamenti to influence the direction of their next record. (If only) That’s a reasonable approximation of Great Surround. Excepting one thing. It doesn’t quite convey just how wonderful this record is.

Great Surround is an epic title but the record itself is short and sweet. 39 minutes (another throwback to the early 80’s) and not a single misplaced moment. Every bar, every word, every string of every chord, is there for a reason. And the album tells a kind of story, if not in narrative, at least musically. Play this one from start to finish and keep playing it because it really reveals itself with repeated listens.

They say that if you want to make money in music, go to USA. But if you want to make art, go to Europe. Bowie did it. The Fatales are somehow saving themselves the trip. If you fancy a twilit walk through someone else’s dream landscape, Great Surround is that rarest of treats – unique but hugely enjoyable.

Succumb to The Fatales charm.