Fear Of Men - Early Fragments

The band’s sound bares a distinct resemblance to home town Brighton on a desolate day.

Label: Kanine

Rating: 7

Back in 2011, indie pop saw a sudden and sharp resurgence, with Veronica Falls serving as the spearheads of the movement. And amongst all the hype, bloggers leapt upon Brighton/London four-piece, Fear Of Men. A few months later, debut single ‘Ritual Confession’ was released via the popular Italian Beach Babes label, and they’ve been rewarding us with a steady trickle of enduring singles ever since.

It’s that which brings us to the appropriately-named ‘Early Fragments’, a collection of singles drawing a line under their work until this point, a release aimed at their growing North American fan base. It starts with their newest work and works backwards, taking the listener on a journey through their blossoming career. It serves us like a well-bound photo album which we can flick through and see snapshots of the band at certain moments in their short, yet successful, life so far.

The instantly-recognisable ‘Seer’ provides the first dose of their loveable-yet-dark indie pop, with Jessica Weiss’ vocals possessing a melodic quality not dissimilar to Victoria Legrand of Beach House. The band’s sound bares a distinct resemblance to home town Brighton on a desolate day.

Although all their tracks bustle and jangle along with plentiful melodies, a highlight is ‘Born’. The vocals are sugary-sweet, building in to a series of ‘ooo”s that perfectly complement some relentless strumming. An easy criticism of Fear of Men is that all their tracks are one-dimensional, that they don’t stray from their tested formula - but during ‘Ritual Credentials’ they progress from their usual fare to a load of fuzzy noise, providing us with a thrilling moment in which it seems they let go completely of their favoured sound.

Many new bands would’ve rushed these songs to a debut album proper, but as a result of this compilation, the band’s first full-length will benefit from some careful construction. Let’s hope they take this well-assembled sound and craft something a little more exhilarating so it’s truly memorable.