Fassine’s third album will make you feel plenty of things; it’s up to you to decide where those emotions take you.
Release Date: 27th March 2020
Label: Trapped Animal Records
Format: CD / LP / Digital
Fassine may have (you would hope inadvertently) released the perfect soundtrack to troubled times. I say inadvertently, but given the sinister feel of large swathes of this record, you’d be forgiven for emerging from this album with a foreboding sense of apocalypse. That coupled with the fact that this album pays ‘tribute to forgotten heroes on the fringes of society’ leaves you suspecting prophecy at work.
The London trio’s 3rd album is hard work. And not in a bad way. It is as tense as it is beautiful, as gentle as it is assaultingly heavy. It feels a bit like watching Game of Thrones or Line of Duty. You think you’re safe, that you’ve figured out what is going on and then, just for a perverse sense of writer’s fun, your favourite character has their throat cut.
Fassine are regularly referred to as ‘cinematic’, but that’s a little lazy. They soundtrack emotions. This record makes you feel things. Some of them might be downright uncomfortable but you certainly are in no doubt you are experiencing something significant.
Take lead track ‘Bloom’. It starts off all pretty, then in come the satanic choirs. Sarah Palmer’s voice gives you respite before the demons return to rough you up a bit more. OK, you’re thinking. Expect the unexpected. I can prepare myself for that. But then you get track four, ‘Hellsto’. You brace for it. It’s called ‘Hellsto’ after all. And then it delivers. A beautiful quirky little ballad with echoes of Kate Bush.
There’s a lot of genre-bending going on here. You’ve got prog, industrial, trip hop, folk – and often all in the course of a five minute song. ‘Migraine’ even appears to be an instrumental ode to a really long headache. I’m assuming an actual migraine is much less sonically appealing.
This album is a test of resolve. It probably isn’t one to listen to over dinner. But if you believe music should challenge and inspire then you will find much to get your teeth into here.
Read Fassine’s guest column they wrote for us where they shared their love about XTC.