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    Song
    Island
    Album
    Fall Forever
    Artist
    Fear Of Men
    Label
    Kanine Records
    Released
    2016

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Songs We Love: Fear Of Men, 'Island'

Songs We Love: Fear Of Men, 'Island'

03Island
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/467227891/467236096" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Buy Featured Music

    Song
    Island
    Album
    Fall Forever
    Artist
    Fear Of Men
    Label
    Kanine Records
    Released
    2016

    Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Fear Of Men's forthcoming album, Fall Forever, is out June 3. i

Fear Of Men's forthcoming album, Fall Forever, is out June 3. Eleanor Hardwick/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Eleanor Hardwick/Courtesy of the artist
Fear Of Men's forthcoming album, Fall Forever, is out June 3.

Fear Of Men's forthcoming album, Fall Forever, is out June 3.

Eleanor Hardwick/Courtesy of the artist
Fear Of Men, Fall Forever.
Courtesy of the artist

At some point, we've all felt isolated from the people we love most, or found ourselves stuck in a decaying relationship that has warped into something unrecognizable. In her songs, Jessica Weiss, singer and guitarist of Fear Of Men, has used a nimble touch to regularly address these themes; and with "Island," a compelling new song from the UK band's new album, Fall Forever, she gives depth to the loneliness, depression and heartbreak she feels.

The song opens with self-reflection, and Weiss declaring herself "an island," trapped by impossible expectations, previously unable to speak up because she fears what her mate might think. "I used to be scared to be misunderstood," she sings. But upon the very next line, she's claiming ownership and power over her actions, and unwilling to continue propping up this person any longer. "Now I don't care if I'm not what you want / I used to be scared to be the stronger one."

Melancholy has been a pervasive thread in the band's songwriting and in the tonality of its dreamy art-pop aesthetic form the start. Throughout the Early Fragments EP (2013) and Loom (2014), crystalline guitar lines, jangling rhythms and fluid synth textures create a heightened romanticism and smoldering anger under Weiss' understated vocals, as she flutters above the rumbling distortion.

Fall Forever, on the other hand, is the result of escape and solitude. Weiss, guitarist Daniel Falvey, and the band travelled from their native Brighton to rural Kent in order to workshop new songs in a repurposed abattoir — off the grid and away from distraction. Working with producer Tom Morris, Fear Of Men continued to refine its formula, harnessing layers of instruments and stripping away the echoing chasm of reverb that can submerge voices below the surface. That leaner approach can be heard in "Island"'s sleek restraint: pulsing synthesizers and a ghostly choir of harmonies enveloping even the corners of the song.

Working in exile also affected how Weiss now assertively places her voice front-and-center, showcasing a subtlety in her bittersweet melodies as she sings the hook: "You tell me impossible things that shake me to my core." As the song develops, Weiss' agency and resolve bloom ("I'll be brave, get what I want"), and the scars begin to fade ("I will shed you like I shed my body"). She acknowledges her complicity in the relationship, admitting how her own flaws led to neglect and mistrust. "I guess I know that I've been making mistakes that wash your faith away," she sings, gliding above the warm buzzing guitar feedback. In that moment of plaintive resignation, Fear Of Men offers a portrait of someone continuing to grapple with reinvention, but finding strength in the process.

Fall Forever will be released on June 6 on Kanine Records.

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