Tag Archives: The New Fabian Society

EPs of 2017 (30-21)

Albums 30-21 – 20-11 – 10-1 EPs 30-2120-1110-1

30. Polarneck/Grand Pricks – Polarpricks [GoldMold]

Grand Pricks’ offer tracks that seem to always be building, replacing toe-tapping with jumping around wanting more, raucous anti-establishment punk which manages to deliver both the simple hook and feel of 80s skater punk, coupled with eloquent, carefully considered lyrics. Polarnecks hit you with thumping drums and catchy hooks, which mask the somewhat melancholy lyrics. Elements of garage surfer rock, but with a darker undertone, yet still full of swagger, coupled with self-deprecating lyrics, something that a lot of people will be able to identify with. It’s impossible to pick a side on the split, as both bands have a clear, defined style but still manage to create one record which is very difficult to put down, mostly because you will be constantly flipping it over trying to decide which side deserves to go first.

29. Forehead – Bedrooms Tapes [GoldMold]

Sean Garrett’s forehead is an extremely complex and nuanced thing, his solo act Forehead is even more so. Garrett has a number of tricks up his sleeve, not least Bedroom Tapes, the debut EP from Forehead. With catchy musical hooks – ranging in temperance – and soft, emotional and well delivered vocals, all wrapped up in quirky, sporadic, experimental production, there’s not much not to love about Forehead.

28. Radiophonic Tuckshop – Running Commentary [Last Night From Glasgow]

Crammed with distorted, powerpop riffs, dreamy harmonies, Beach Boys-inspired jams, delicious wonky pop and an anthemic footstomper of a closer with a grandiosity akin to Sparks in ‘As Hard As I Feel’, Running Commentary is unashamedly powered by a modern take on retro rock and roll which wears its influences on its sleeve.

27. Wendell Borton – Crawl [Fitlike]

Wendell Borton convey their sense of joviality and lightness quickly, kicking things off with the titular track ‘Crawl’. With some subtle, washed out production, some weird vocal harmonies and some unmistakably fun musical elements, this is a very endearing song, which opens a very endearing EP. A massive point to Wendell Borton’s credit is that their choice of musical lines is quite subversive; they would likely be decried as another group of pop-punk plonkers were it not for their habit of taking a lot of musical back roads.

24. The New Fabian Society – Choke

Choke found The New Fabian Society not wasting a second, gone are the days of 10-minute post punk epics, instead we’re hit with a more focused approach, which allows arguably a higher and more varied output from the band, who’ve been going nigh on five years. With influences that lean less on the psychedelic side here the band really take a punk focus and run with it, with drums soundings like they’re from an industrial rock album at times, bass switching from synth like to simply balls to the wall distortion and a layered production that lets the guitars shine through with more clarity than before.

25. American Clay – Sky Hooks [LP]

Sky Hooks shakes the loose skin off your face with its fuzz induced perfection, providing intelligent verses and humble choruses, forcing you to keep this record on constant repeat. American Clay’s debut EP is highly inventive with a distinctive, solid-stated sound; a ridiculously enjoyable record that gives off a playful, yet subtle maturity.

24. Lanark Artefax – Whities 011

Not one we’ve been hugely familiar with but Glaswegian producer Calum MacRae, a.k.a. Lanark Artefax, has been getting mighty praise all over for his alien techno tracks. Whities 011 fizzes with perplexing sonic complexities and crowd pleasing maximalism that fellow Glasgow boys Hudson Mohawke and Rustie have mastered, while also showing an ear from powerful emotive ambient tracks.

23. Laps – Who Me? [MIC]

LAPS returned after a three-year break and withWho Me? let everyone know that this isn’t some mere side project, cemented further by Cassie Ezeji’s other act Golden Tecaher seemingly calling it a day. It’s an EP that oozes an ultra cool vibe as the duo, who also features Organs of Love’s Alicia Matthews, woo us with an anarchic groove centred record that dips its toes into no-wave soul, mimial industirial dark rnb and dubbed-out house, with an entrancing variety of vocal deliveries.

22. Marble Gods – Songs [Marry Me]

Marbles Gods’ Songs was a wee pop gem for 2017, it’s the perfect wee fuzzy C86 channelled indie pop tape that instills bags of upbeat fun with a tongue-in-cheek humour. Here’s hoping that we get more like this in the near future.

21. Wojtek the Bear – Second Nature

Wojtek the Bear returned with Second Nature, an EP that takes the listener on a journey through changing opinions and lifestyle changes in a typically Scottish manner. The EP takes you on a journey from a band looking for answers and end with the acceptance that what will be will be, through reflective driving drums and melodic guitar. It’s rewarding listen that takes a look at some of the darker sides of Scottish culture through a relatable and almost cheery mirror.

The New Fabian Society – Choke

The title track from The New Fabian Society’s latest release (the band’s first in nearly two years) is a slow burn, crushing guitars gradually build for what seems like an eternity before erupting into a chaotic cacophony of noise.

With an outro so pandemic The Black Plague want’s a word, ‘Choke’ doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and ends with a whisper in comparison to the chaos before it.

Hairier than a weekend with two TV cooks who share a penchant for motorcycles the opening bass riff of ‘Fuck’ leaps at you from speakers; arguably the most “guns blazing” track on the release it doesn’t waste a second of its 3:12 running time.

This could be said for all of the tracks, gone are the days of 10-minute post punk epics, instead we’re getting a more focused approach.

There’s something to be said for two guys playing only five or so songs in a 30 minute set while the crowd stands entranced but it’s arguably more exciting to see a higher and more varied output from a band that’s been going nigh on five years.

As the line-up changes have taken place the band has become more refined, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion they still enjoy extending songs live, but from an EP and recorded output perspective it’s been enjoyable to see them change slightly with each release.

The closest thing we have to the band’s debut is ‘Lost Time’ and it’s the perfect example of their evolution.

Starting with a floating intro before building into a catchy yet restrained chorus (at least at first) before becoming unhinged towards the end.

You can almost hear the evolution of the band, stark minimalist post punk then gradually layers are added in, guitars come creeping in from seemingly everywhere, which help build the track to a beautiful climax.

You can see their roots from the days of Exhibition of Love flowing into the more heavily produced era of Cyclothymia and Barbarossa extending all the way into the more focused and aggressive present iteration of the band.

Influences for this record seem to (like I’ve mentioned above) lean less on the psychedelic side of their previous releases instead they really take that punk focus and run with it.

All the drums sound like they’re from an industrial rock album at times, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re not programmed such is their consistency in aggression.

The bass takes a different approach, it changes from track to track sounding almost synth like to simply balls to the wall distortion, it covers a lot of ground, it’s nice to see a band not take a set it and forget it approach to the instrument.

Guitars are another matter altogether you could argue they’re the element which changes least throughout the EP’s length but that’s ok the arrangement and layered production lets them shine through with a little more clarity.

There’s a lot of highlights here which is great as it feels like this release has been a long time coming but there’s just something about ‘Fuck’ and ‘I Still Remember’ that feels like a step above.

This feels like another of the band’s release that might make a big impression within Scotland and hopefully the UK as a larger target.

Words: Phillip Allen

The New Fabian Society (EP launch), Electric Gardens, The Animal Mothers at Broadcast, 10/4/15

“Ready, Aim, Fire!” is all the introduction we are given to The Animal Mothers, it’s all they need.

By the time they launch into their second song, the blistering ‘Hey, Mr Policeman!’, they have found their stride and while the audience may be small they are certainly enthralled.

The band present all the influence of the psychedelic wave that ushered in the mid 60s, but filter it through far more attitude.

Make no mistake however, this isn’t only the influence the band draw from, they have a foot firmly planted in the first wave of rock’n’roll, visionaries like Buddy Holly & The Crickets, Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps and just a touch of Dick Dale’s instrumental chaos thrown in.

A highlight of the set is the blistering ‘I’ve Lost My Mind’, which builds to a chorus that sounds like a missing link between The Melvins and The Shangri La’s.

The set features one cover and it’s an unusual choice, ‘Hey Gyp’ originally by Donovan, and the duo raises the melancholic piece to new fuzz drenched heights.

Finishing off the set with ‘You Drive Me Crazy’ the band leave stage with a bang, and no doubt a bruise as singer Wallace Pate head-butts his guitar and throws it to the ground.

Electric Gardens provide a massively different experience when compared; they at points sound like a cross between Can and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

They have the hypnotic groove to rival any of the first wave of Krautrock bands, yet there’s more to them as they interject these walls of sound with Gang of Four style angular guitar riffs.

Their set culminates in a hectic jam that could rival Queens of The Stone Age at their most lucid; however this feels far more natural.

Special mention goes to the rhythm section, drummer Keith Harcus and bassist Marc Wilson for continually laying a solid foundation under this electric set.

The New Fabian Society are heading the bill, celebrating their seventh release and their second release as a three piece.

The addition of third member, Conor Dixon on bass, doesn’t come across on recordings as startlingly as it does in a live setting.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen the band, back then they were a two-piece and they sound completely different now.

Their penchant for walls of sound has been transformed by the addition of the new member.

They sound like twice the band they used to be; most of the material featured throughout the set has been taken from the past three releases, with highlights including the bombastic ‘Cyclothymia’, frantic ‘In Love With A Killer’ and haunting new single ‘Melt Inside’.

The band straddle the admittedly thin line between My Bloody Valentine and Black Sabbath live, cascading walls of sound mixed in with churning riffs and choruses.

Seeing the band in this new, exciting period is truly brilliant.

You get the distinct feeling that you are seeing something unique, something which can’t be contained.

There are a few bands currently doing the quasi-shoegaze thing, but The New Fabian Society mix it with a post punk influence, which really helps to round out their sound giving them a much more unique take than that of their contemporaries.

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Words: Phil Allen