Fear Of Men - Loom
Loom is a bundle of nerves. Before we've even hit the play there's that titular sense of dread and the band's name - the definition of androphobia - both omens that echo throughout the record as a whole. They're catalysts for the interplay between theme and sound the trio engage in, with the fragile, absorbing listlessness of Jessica Weiss' voice in particular operating as a seasoned guide to Fear of Men's explorations of the shadows on the wall and the dream that keeps you up at night. The result is that when these tense, anxious songs hit you the right way its entrancing clutches are damn hard to shake yourself loose from.
Nowhere is this more prevalent than on 'Alta', the album's ominous opener, the organ-led ambience of which encapsulates and embellishes the "the hopelessness of always wishing for something else" better than the words themselves. It's a songwriting design that proves just as satisfying elsewhere though, whether it be amidst the looping effect of 'Luna' which matches with the "unbearable memories" Weiss recounts "when I try to sleep", or the extended, dizzy climax of 'Inside' that bores ever deeper before finally erupting into dissonant feedback.
In irregular and unprovoked intervals of bad light though, this encompassing quality that comes from the band's particular focus can grow claustrophobic, and a sense of restrictiveness rears its head as forms and ideas are repeated - especially so on down-tempo tracks like 'Vitrine' and the turgid 'America'. The overriding confidence and clarity of the band's vision though, present in everything from their artwork and videos to their song-writing and production choices, convinces of their convictions and allows their debut to step out into a world beyond the more than serviceable shadows of their shoegazing predecessors.