Saturday, 1 October 2011

Ex-presidential San Fran gloom-pop: New songs from Fops

First published in Loud And Quiet

Fops, For Centuries EP
Available on cassette or MP3 from Monotreme Records

Following last year’s full-length Yeth Yeth Yeth, the Bay Area underground super-group Fops offer up this hefty EP, which at seven tracks and 43 minutes is even more generous than your standard long-player. On the other hand, closing track ‘Ronald Wilson Reagan’ takes up half of that running time with a lo-fi soundscape that evolves like bacterial cultures on a Petri dish, easing from phased guitar chords threaded with birdsong to splintered loops of distortion and vocal drones, all washed up like driftwood on a California shore.

It’s an interesting Side B but the first six tracks will be more familiar to fans of Fops’ alma maters, Thee More Shallows and Ral Partha Vogelbacher, mixing the hollow mechanics of early new wave with fuzzy-edged fingerpicking and some choice creepy lyrics: “I shot a parakeet after it called to me, half in Dutch and half in English.”

For Centuries is a gorgeously far-off and faded collection of gloom-pop made for cloudy day beachcombing, having far more in common with the bleak horizons of Echo and the Bunnymen than the current West Coast wave of affluent teenage tokers.

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