In this day and age it seems that a band does itself a service if it fits itself into a genre. And if one is an avid reader of some of the more well known music blogs on the Internet today, one realizes that genre specifics are almost more important than the music itself. It could be the writer’s fault, those types always wanting to find the perfect pair of adjectives with which to pigeon hole a band into in order to make themselves and the band seem like some sort of anomaly. For clarification reasons I’ll sarcastically list some of my favorites, which I may or may not have used to my benefit at one point or another: fuzz-punk, art-rock, sludge-rock, techno-pop, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Though I had a hard time trying to pinpoint any precise genre into which Seattle’s Fian would fit into. The five-piece band represent themselves as rock, and there are times when the classical rock influences are heard, though there is a finer element of true classical at the heart of each of Fian’s songs. This is because the genesis of each song stems from the classically trained musical mind of Hudson Reed, who writes the initial melodies along with singer and lyricist Jonathan Wilson. The rest of the band then chimes in with blues guitar, jazz drums and progressive metal bass lines. To hear them tell it, the band says they often get comparisons to bands such as Muse, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits and even Les Misérables.
Fian’s self-titled debut Fian opens with the classical piano driven ballad “Streetlights.” It takes many turns as it starting out ghostly, moving towards pretty. But what really presents itself upfront are Wilson’s somewhat brash at times vocals, which I will admit confused me from time to time. They are powerful, there is no doubt about it, though sometimes too much so, if only because they seem to outdo the instruments which accompany him. They definitely fight back on the next track “Vanity” which is a raucous all out rock out that pits a fierce piano against an equally fierce electric guitar. Wilson’s hollowed out vocals chime in yelling “everything’s nothing at the end of your life.”
Structurally the same old same old doesn’t always do Fian a service. When one gets to the middle of the record, beginning with “Break Up Song” which for all its efforts to exist on its own merits just echoes earlier sentiments heard before. These echoes carry over to future tracks like “Someday” which just seem like rehearsals. However this structure works on the all-out rock balladry of the albums closing track “Ghost” which sprawls and howls and really showcases what Fian is capable of at their best.
Fian is a young band and on their first record they’ve made the mistakes of a young band. But they’ve also laid down a workable foundation of sounds which when honed have the potential to provide a new genre, one which music reviewers will be happy to use in all their adjectival glory.
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