For us, Fear of Fiction are the godfathers. Aside from being the finest musical publication in Bristol, they run a record label and put on live nights, and did we mention that they also put run a huge music store full of wonderful things? No, oh well I’ll show you the way after we unwrap their latest compilation brimming with Bristolian talent. And as if we didn’t love FOF before, they’re releasing this on the proper stuff; 12″ vinyl. It’s the feel of vinyl, the joy of popping the needle down and then being thrown into the musical cyclone that ensues…
Even if you download the release, you’ll find that as with vinyl, there’s two sides; red and blue. We’ll kick start things with the red side though, where Idles, a no-nonsense post-punk gang take charge with an aggresive and hearty track of 3 minutes. Titled ‘Thieves’, you get a Bloc Party vibe here, with tight and refined indie pop style riffs heading into a rocky chorus with lyrics churning “Who’s the one who caused the pain?”. It’s like a pub-fight; an awakening that is brutal, but doesn’t hurt because of all the adrenaline and testosterone that races through your body at the same time. Idles leave an impression. They’re possibly your new favourite Bristol band, but there’s an uneasy sense that every single artists will make you think that knowing Fear Of Fiction and their uncanny talent spotting knack…
Beckoning you in with frenetic pulses that charge into a Blood Red Shoes style instrumental, The Naturals ‘Grand Moff Tarkin’ appears next. Underneath that lies a kind of hazy indie-dreampop element, but definitely casting a more intense sound equally. It comes recommended to Tall Ships and Foasl fans, and that couldn’t be more spot on. It lulls you into this loose trap of mellowness in the middle, whilst creeping up is another epic rock-fuelled ending. Another one you have to be sure to watch out for……
‘Call The Doctor’ by Seventeen is a certainly insightful listen, with a refreshing sound given their female fronted punchy sound. They don’t bring light rock that can be easily shaken off in your head, but angsty and fesity rock that at best leaves you shaken up. You feel somehow put in your place after the rocky shouting outbursts of the breakdown. That’s reciprocated in the gnarly riffs and screams of ‘Encore! Encore!’ by The Saint Pierre Snake Invasion. Not for the faint-hearted, this couldn’t be further removed from the normal post-hardcore you hear NME talk about. It’s chunky, gritty and like you’ve just been thrown against the wall and glassed in the next stage of that pub brawl we mentioned earlier. It’ll take a lot of ice and stitches to recover after these guys have finished with you for sure.
Wrapping up the red side of the release comes Casimir with ‘Lucid’, a Spector, Wombats vocals, Mystery Jets onsalught. it’s indie through and through with it’s quirky distant sounds. This is indie-rock at its best with soaring choruses and flooring vocals elevating you to somewhere quite mesmerising. It might be dark and eerie, but it’s incredible. The journey through this 4 or so minutes slides from laid back lo-fi indie to searing highs that Klaxons ought to have achived in the past. They didn’t, but Casimir, with their nods to the Mystery Jets and Editors, – and even the odd Jack Steadman sounding vocal – ought to be going places. This is a well-crafted, intricate and immaculate track, Fear Of Fiction have found some greats in the making once more. **Grabs pen and writes yet another name that FOF have recommended down….**
Imagine your turning your vinyl over. I know it’s only a download so you don’t have to do anything, but just imagine. Now imagine Nirvana and The Horrors playing on the same stage; that’s right, you read that. That’s just something along the lines of what Scarlet Rascal and The Trainwreck sound like with ‘The Haunting’ as they meld yet more passive hearty guitar riffs with pent up anger meeting clever rock. More top marks all round, especially for the sudden cries towards the end that are quite honestly haunting. Wait. Did that door just open by itself. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Also on the blue side are The Hit Ups with ‘A Turn At Twelve Paces’ which sounds, well, quite perculiar. Merging Jamie T with Collectors Club I’d say, they veer into grungy choruses of rock along the lines of Pulled Apart By Horses and Rage Against The Machine, making for a fascinating musical experiment. A few listens and it finally starts to sound right, but at first it’s probably the only track which makes you approach tentatively. Their sound though? It’s anything but tentative.
Archimedes(whom we’ve featured before) seem to be back and stronger than ever, also appearing as part of the blue side. Their triumphant, rugged rock side has evolved over the years, and ‘Orrery’ is the track to show it. Math-rock meets euphoria. Much like the previous tracks, theere’s a strong musicality that reaches out and grabs you, particularly as the track seems to implode around you in a cataclysmic, I’m-stood-on-the-edge-of-the-world-and-feeling-alive style ending. It’s not easy to miss it on the blue side of the release, and Archimedes are clearly still highly underrated since our last musical convenience with them.
It’s a welcome return for our old-featuree’s Mayans too, with their creepy, Hot Vamp Club and Zulu Winter embellished sound seeping out. It’s eerie and mysterious, yet huge too – we’re thinking it’s kind of like a Black Hole, with galaxies of rip-roaring noise and distant vocals of “Don’t Waste Your Smile..” adding yet more depth to the expansive sound.
‘Nightmares’ by Emma McNeill is the closing track upon this side, an initially singer-songwriter, who flourishes with Kate Nash vigour, tiptoeing lightly on a Lilly Allen inspired sound. Nash might be on the cusp of a comeback with a new album and tour, but with McNeill and her band, she might be just a little uncertain given this fitting and poppy song that could resonate with many.
As we anticipated, Fear of Fiction have pulled out an incredible selection of artists here. We’d go so far as to say that it’s one of the best compilations we’ve heard in quite sometime, with a vast array of tracks that reach out and provide an insight into the emerging artists on the Bristol circuit. The West country looks to be a promising land for many it would seem.
Download the compilation now here, with the option to get a ticket to the launch night on June 23rd at The Croft to catch these bands live and recieve your vinyl in person!
Fear of Fiction // Website //