Brighton on the south coast of England might seem on the surface a regular, successful seaside town. But it has always sheltered an undercurrent of dissatisfied, youthful aggression. Often intelligent in its inception, Brighton’s youth has sought to express this dis-ease either through art or escape. And it through the former that local Tech-Core 5 piece Fathoms have sought to purge themselves of this angst.
Their aptly titled EP Cold Youth is a short mission statement from a band who will soon be releasing their first LP. But I thought I’d give this primary foray a brief analysis. So that we all might be better prepared to comprehend the fuller scope of their next more involved effort.
There is a simmering rage dwelling just below the surface of this record. The techy grooves winding like a constrictor as they build to several mighty choruses. But Fathoms do not dwell on these moments of casual appeal. Instead they are focused in creating an sound which motivates the listener to movement. Be it energised dancing, cathartic slamming or sinuous undulation.
Their use of the breakdown is judicious and well timed. Varying in its stylistic treatment; from twitchy and febrile to pounding and brutal. This is a satisfying approach to something which can become quite swiftly trite and uninteresting.
The drums are tight and forcing, more often than not leading each song as it loops around the ear. This allows the guitars and bass the freedom to either reinforce or play counterpoint to the melodic hardcore rhythms.
Each of the 4 songs has many subtle tempo changes which reinvigorates their purpose with each listen. But the main feeling that you experience when listening to Fathoms is that of being forced forward. Much in the same way that the best Pop-Punk does, even though this music is a lot more aggressive and powerful.
The Vocals are a mixture of a roared barking style and a roughed clean. There is a distinctively British inflection to his voice which is always pleasing to be able to detect. They sit in genuine accord with the will-to-action momentum of the music. All parts moving in the same direction. Engaging and considered as well as rapid and full of polemic.
One of the only criticisms I would offer is that just when a song seems to be developing nicely it is finished. Not abruptly, well cadenced, but nonetheless before they have given the song unlimited freedom to see where it might go. This could be a conscious decision, to move on once a particular point is made. Which is of course the prerogative of the artist. But on occasion I was left feeling like there was just one piece missing.
But having said that this is a very well constructed record. One which leads you astutely into its self created world and holds you there. Keeping you rapt with tales of disaffected childhood. Its short but its sweet, not saccharine you understand. Its the kind of record you put on when you want to drink beer and have a good time, reminiscing about all the bad times that made you stronger, through surviving them.
Fathoms will be back soon, so I’m told. But until then, there’s this and its mighty good entertainment.
– John Whitmore