FEiN’s brand of melancholy indie-electropop slays on new EP
Few EPs impact like FEiN‘s newest offering, the indie-electropop masterpiece that is Little Little Homes. It’s a taster of things to come from their full length Little Homes release this May, but few teasers ever taste as good as this.
This is the kind of record that everybody hoped Foster The People would produce as a follow-up to Torches. Generous helpings of electropop instrumentals, infused with melancholy and tapestries of melody, make unusually natural bedfellows with the more rugged sounds of alternative. It’s an unusual approach for a new band to take – they’re adopting a flawlessly familiar sound that is perfectly radio-ready in its own right, but then swirling into chaos with it by way of brutalising drum beats and intense guitarwork.
Take opening number Sculptor, which is the band’s boldest adoption of this sound. Not only is the middle eight packed with pulverising power, but the chorus itself settles more into the alternative camp than indie. It’s heavy. It’s intense. It doesn’t take any of the prisoners that the indie-electro sound usually does. While on tracks like the disco-tinged Girl You Can’t Hide It or the bubblegum indie-pop innocence of #Grownupz, this powerhouse sound only briefly rears its head to remind listeners that you’re not just listening to any throwaway indie-electro artist. This is one with more to offer and – as the image-obsessed social commentary lyricism of Sculptor demonstrates – much more to say.
But then there’s Outro, the single most interesting soundscape on the release. FEiN aren’t ashamed or afraid to experiment in melting and manufacturing characters and gender in their vocals, demonstrated in the child vocal warping of #Grownupz, but Outro takes it to another level. The vocals audibly dissolve from male to female, going through all manner of twisted electronic voices on the way. This is only the peak of the experimental iceberg, as defining Outro as any genre with certainty is an impossible task. It’s this moment of artistic liberty, squirreled in the midst of hit material, that really builds excitement for their full release.
Any artist with an ear for melody can, with enough time, craft a release that could win them extended airplay. But to do so while maintaining individuality and a willingness to push beyond the defined edges of a “sound” is much, much harder. Then again, FEiN are by no means “any artist”.