Brighton’s Fear of Men have been threatening to make a significantly good debut album for about twelve months now; snippets of deft, dark indie-pop like ‘Green Sea’ (included here) have surfaced briefly, shone brightly and offered up a narrow glimpse of what might, in time, be something special. ‘Loom’ builds on those promising flashes with something substantial and reasonably impressive. On first impressions though, theirs is not a radically new sound; think Howling Bells meets Esben & The Witch, cold production married to dark, arty lyricism. Oddly, ‘Waterfall’ is more resonant of nineties Britpoppers Echobelly, with Jessica Weiss’ simple, almost childlike vocals tiptoeing over a shimmering guitar backdrop. ‘America’, meanwhile, is meandering and woozy, one of the more uncomfortable moments on the record.

What makes this album interesting is the contrast between Weiss’ light, pure vocals and the dark lyrical tone (“You will never leave me, as long as I enter you with my bones”), and the band’s repeated descent into skewed, discordant noise. This departure from straightforward melody is repeated throughout the record; the band skillfully weave short blasts of acidic, layered, dissonant guitar into songs suffused with lightness and melody. Yes, on the face of it ‘Loom’ is just another intelligent, guitar-based indie album. But its cold resonance and the detached emotional feel with which it is delivered make this debut an absorbing and oddly beautiful thing.


More from