WRITTEN BY: Vince Barreras
The 3rd and final release in the first half of the 2020 calendar year for Funeral Party Records concludes with the debut album for Fearing titled Shadow. The Oakland, California post-punk/darkwave band has been associated with the label for quite some time. They released two previous EP’s on the label, A Life of None, and Black Sand in 2017 and 2018 respectively. The band combines dark melodies, synths and atmosphere to create a record that’s bleak, and at times high energy and infectious, and overall enjoyable to listen to. When listening to Fearing bands such as Sisters of Mercy of the past and Soft Kill of the present come to mind. Front man James Rogers vocals are a washed in reverb/distortion and echo sinisterly under the array of instrumentation the band implements, similar to his side projects demo tape for The Dissonant. Overall, Shadow is track after track of catchy hooks, and dark wave that is sure to entertain.
The “Intro” track sets up a creepy atmosphere with a shaker and other forms of ambient sounds that transition into “Catacombs” one of the catchiest songs of 2020. The use of a deep bass and drum groove mixed with a signature postpunk/dark/cold wave feel is the perfect way to bring in the energy. Its fast and intricate and once the vocals start that’s when the record officially begins. “Picture Perfect” starts off in a kind of slow going and then the guitars burst out in a shoegaze like tone that opens the track up, and occasionally changes pitch and intensity from loud and abrasive to more subdued. “Still Working Hard” utilizes a similar pace but what stands out is the drumming by Mike Fenton, that both solidifies and gives the backbone the track needs to power forward. “Sherbert” is melodic, similar to “Catacombs” in that it’s more upbeat and flows like that of a song that could be played in a dance club. It’s intense and closes side A in a powerful way.
Side B begins with “The Push” a track that utilizes vast dark sounds and soundscapes that’s both eerie and mysterious. The guitars echo out and create the scene for the song, the tones on this track are something special. They work in conjunction with the vocal track. “Good Talks,” which also served as the album’s first single, is gloomy but also upbeat and the band is really playing off each other’s strengths creating a really grand track. “Trail of Grief” is much different from the other previous tracks. The tone on this one is more on par with some of the more upbeat and jumpy tracks, but an octave higher. The band is operating on all cylinders for this one, the guitars ringing out atop of a rhythm section that brings the energy and a vocal track that’s sinister. “Glow” continues this upward trend with more of a dream pop sounding track. It still maintains the Fearing sound but adds brighter tones that sound pleasant on the ears and blend nicely with the rest of the band. The guitar work on this track along with the synths are a nice touch. “Nothing New ” serves as the closer and focuses on creating an overall doomy atmosphere. Its use of vocal delivery and synth keys end the track out with a slow decay.
Fearing’s debut album is a must listen for fans of this genre. The band is able to capture a mood that most bands wish they could, and they do so perfectly. From the opening track to the final, each song is more addictive than the last. The thing Fearing does is create an atmosphere that sucks the listener in, and each song blends effortlessly into each other. They combine so many different elements like post punk/dark & cold wave and shoegazing that there really is something for everyone on this record. Fearing and Funeral Party has been on a roll and their contribution to releasing this phenomenal record will not go unnoticed.
- Picture Perfect
- Still Working Hard
- The Push
- Good Talks
- Trail of Grief
- Nothing New