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Fists – Phantasm

Becci Stanley

Triangle

Right at the forefront of Nottingham’s thriving music scene are chilled out garage rockers Fists. A lot less aggressive than their name suggests, Fists produce laid-back, lucid music to sink into along with energetic live shows to throw you out of your comfort zone. Although they make a sound which is now over-used sound with its growing popularity, Fists still manage to produce a solid release oozing with psychedelic riffs, spacey lyrics and pure dedication.

Opening track Go leaps in with a galloping drum beat riding into airy, fuzzy vocals creating a lucid, drug-induced aura, becoming more prominent as the track steadily gains speed and volume as various crashing symbols and crunching guitars lace the melody before reaching a climactic conclusion.

This moves swiftly into Solvent which holds a different tone altogether. The track feels regimental with a sharp snare drum sounding a tight, fast-paced beat which seems to snap and fall into a lethargic demeanour as the lulling vocals sound over pining guitars and a schizophrenic drumbeat creating a rollercoaster of sound.

This schizophrenic, almost uncomfortable element mixed with a DIY garage sound is most prominent in New Clothes and Gasp, two polar opposites that work so beautifully in harmony. New Clothes channels a sombre tone with a dampened tempo, truly haunting vocals singing dank lyrics with a high, sweet voice creating an uncomfortable void in the midst of an otherwise chirpy album. It shows a darker and more lyrically controlled side to the album instead of being tarred with the brush of just being in it to be trendy.

Gasp is a whole other ball game, although still channeling the same ethereal vocals the music carries a fast paced almost Latina edge ensuring the whole song has a more edgy theme. Its strange because the lyrics in both songs along with vocals are so similar, yet the mastery of instruments makes all the difference to how you perceive the tone of the song, it’s quite extraordinary.

Mammoth track Yr Glove starts ominously with the poignant twangs of single guitar strings in a repetitive fashion before lyrics slowly ooze their way into the mixture along with random, unnerving sounds as if directly captured from a UFO landing site, bizarrely amongst the same repetitive strings.

Final track Try jumps straight into the action with gritty vocals almost shouting out for attention at first before silence signals a sudden, melodic change into a stereotypically grunge-pop mix complete with whining, angst and down-tuned bass and guitar combined with a sunny tempo. Musically it’s a bit of a mood killer, it feels like it just sort of ends. There’s no climax or definite end like Yr Glove but this could be an attempt to once again show the fickle nature of the band, one minute they’re soft and melodic the next they are wailing and thrashing. Either way, it’s a solid and impressive release amongst a fairly generic genre displaying substance over style in what is currently successful.

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