Black Ferns is a three-piece band comprised of Zoran Macesic, Chris Jordan and Riley Geare. Their debut self-titled release Black Ferns is a dark post-punk and shoegaze inspired album that explores themes such as addiction, love and an unknown Orwellian future. Riley Geare who is the drummer from Unknown Mortal Orchestra produced the album. I can unequivocally say that the production is top notch and fits into the aesthetic of what you want from an album that combines post-punk and shoegaze. The vocals are smothered in reverb that is comparable to early My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive while the guitars are jangly, raw and contain the perfect amount of dirt.
Overall, the production never sounds overproduced and it tips its hat to the aesthetic from the late ‘70s but it still sounds contemporary.The songwriting is good, sometimes great, and there are a number of inspired moments, which perked my ears up. On top of that the overall flow of the nine songs is seamless, dynamic and consistent.
The album begins with “Lovers of Today” which is almost hypnotic from the get go as it combines ghostly vocal harmonies, a steady drum beat and bass line. The song goes off in little spurts and the details are ear candy. A small innocuous but effective drum fill there or a brief guitar fill here. The energy is dark but also lively. It is an engaging combo that they somehow pull off.
“Everything Always” is a solid song but the last minute or so is exceptional. The warbly lead guitar and the climatic aspects that ascend and then descend are not to be missed. Fantastic work here. “Death Drag” starts off with a tinge of Rolling Stones-esque rocking out but then transitions in the hushed reverb laced vocals, which give it that Jesus and Mary Chain Appeal.
The band continues to push out quality songs. “Factory Worker” ditches some of the darker vibes and replaces it with an effervescent energy while “So Cold” is a jangly, delightful mess of guitar chords and white noise. They end on a high note with “Gloria.”
Black Ferns is a bit of a grower if you aren’t too familiar with bands like Joy Division, Jesus and Mary Chain, The Psychedelic furs, etc. I encourage you to spend some time with it because the album gets better over time. Overall, this is a great debut from a band who I hope stay around for a while.
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