Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fen - Of Losing Interest

Was gonna go a totally different direction with this.

I was going to tell you all about how Fen's mind-blowing music helped shape a small part of my life for the past year or so.  I wanted to explain how their last stunning album, Trails Out Of Gloom, took me straight to the doors of Ripple Music.  How those doors opened up a line of communication with the president of the upstart label, which eventually landed me here at The Ripple Effect.

The point is that my Ripple relationship started with Fen.  If you're not familiar with them, then you definitely need to be.  Progressive and heavy, modern and melodic, with strikingly powerful and passionate vocals akin to Tool and Chevelle, Fen is among my favorite underground bands.  I feel like I owe the Canadian rock group because this past year has been such an enjoyable ride for me.

But this isn't supposed to be about me.  Let's talk Of Losing Interest, the latest breathtaking album due for worldwide release on August 14.

Well...maybe a little about more about me, too.  Don't sigh.

In one word: amazing.  No, not me, silly.  The album.  Amazing is exactly what I said in my buzzing head.  I think it's even more remarkable than Trails Out Of GloomOf Losing Interest seems much more forceful and energetic to me.  Less mellow - even more electric - with tons of timely tempo shifts and smooth transitions which Fen have perfected over their years together.

"It's heavy on guitar and bass and rock riffage in general.  There's a lot of solos too," the band says collectively.

I think that's putting it mildly.

I could tell from the first machine-gun riffage on "Riddled", that Fen entered ultra-heavy mode on this album.  A pleasant surprise.  There are more explosive riffs by Doug Harrison (vocals, guitar) and Sam Levin (guitar) in the first half of the new the album than all of their previous effort, as far as I'm concerned.   Solos?  Yeah, lots of solos throughout.  Sometimes 2 or maybe more in a song.  And there are rumbling spots on the album, such as during the title track, when all you hear are the heavy bass lines by Jeff Caron.  The drumming from Nando Polesel is f-in phenomenal.  And they didn't even mention the vocals.  Harrison hits notes on this record that I don't think he tried on the first Ripple release.

It was exactly 4 minutes into "A Long Line" when IT happened.  You know.  I'd already been rocking the hell out when, amidst a stomping beat and upper-body-convulsing riffage, Fen take it to another level.  Yet another solo kicks off and I start to feel every hair on my arms start rising.  The feeling works its way up my arms to my neck.   It's the chills people.  After 40 seconds of ripping solos, the song ends suddenly and I'm literally breathless.  It's like a shot of pure adrenaline straight into the veins.  Wanna know the best part?  I get that feeling every time I listen.

"Light Up The End", affects me much differently, like an emotional roller coaster.  I suppose it's the lyrics - presented along with light acoustic guitars in the beginning - that make me reflect on my own past and look forward to what future I may or may not have left.  It also leaves me asking a few questions.  Why does music do this to me?  Am I the only one who gets such strong feelings?  I know I'm a freak, but surely I can't be the only one who gets so overwhelmed.  At least, I hope not.

Sure, I could describe each song and tell you how I feel, talk about all the interesting lyrics, and go on about how much I enjoy the new album but I think you get the hint.  I don't think I can do it justice with my middle-school writing skills anyway.

Something I don't like?  The title.  I don't want anyone to lose interest at all - I want the opposite.  A lot more people need to know about the tunes by this band.

I think Fen are the gigantic waves at Ripple Music.  If there's one group on the label who I'd love to see sweep across the globe - and who I think has the talent to do that - it's this one.  I might get some flack for saying it out loud, yet I don't care.  I'll grin and take it.  I owe those four guys for the great time I've had so far at The Ripple Effect.

Maybe Of Losing Interest could touch your life in some way.  You can get the cd today, before it hits the shelves, straight from the Ripple Store.


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