I'm going to be honest from the very first sentence. I think I'm in love with this band. Now, let me correct that. I'm in love with this band. My expectations about their hopefully coming soon debut album couldn't be higher. But for the time being, this compilation of their first singles, aptly titled "Early Fragments" does justice to the magnetic sound of this blossoming band.
And that's despite its first song, "Seer", the only new on this compilation, might be the less impressive for me. Sure, it is a pretty, more than alright tune, with its ethereal guitar, spectral choruses and martial drums, but this is the only time that I have to admit I hear echoes of The Cranberries, something that some reviews have pointed out... and scares me.
But the menace quickly vanishes, as next comes "Mosaic". Awww "Mosaic". Already rated it among my favourites tunes of 2012, so what can I say? It's pure pop perfection. There's a trace of post-punk (the gloomy video and the speaking/yearning voice also helps setting that peculiar atmosphere) and the 80s, but the gorgeous voice of Jessica Weiss and the jangly chords transforms it into an indiepop masterpiece. Same qualification for "Your Side", where Jessica plays with her singing, adapting it to the cascading guitar lines and the humming bridge as she wish, before the tune ends with a mysterious outro.
"Green Sea" is another stunning piece. Haunting verses and a dreamy melody that are propelled to that explosive chorus, with Jessica's killer voice seeming to appear out of the blue, from a very distant place, fuelled by these echoing guitars and voices. Its another fantastic example of Fear of Men's incredibly catchy, yet at the same time substantial, enduring, indiepop.
And we have just reached half of the record. "Born" ups the tempo with wonderful results. Immediate, carefree, lightweight and soothing, something that contrasts heavily with its lyrics about existence (birth and death), love and sex. "Doldrums" is also upbeat, but with a more obscure and poetic touch. Dream-pop with a cinematic quality but letting the guitars ring inside your head.
The last couple of songs are also stunning. "Ritual Confession" is the most straightforward tune on "Early Fragments". Direct, embraceable pop, with that colossal CHORUS (big capital letters are in order). Dying to hear this tune live. "Spirit House" is a bit more oblique and lo-fi, with guitars acquiring a bigger presence on the mix, urgent and crispier than usual. But it gets compensated by the vocals and its bombastic finale.
Sorry if you think this wasn't a very impartial review, but I just think I found a band to love unabashedly for ages. And this is just the beginning!