Drop The Fear

Drop The Fear

Independent release, 2004


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


First, the music: Drop The Fear is rock. It is also trip-hop, and it sounds "shoegazer" in places. If you take some of Radiohead's Kid A, mix it with Massive Attack's Mezzanine, add to it some Disintegration by The Cure and Songs Of Faith And Devotion by Depeche Mode, and finally sprinkle it with a bit of Jar Of Flies by Alice In Chains, with some Cocteau Twins of any form thrown in, you still won't get the recipe for Drop The Fear's sound; you just get an idea of how it could be. This is because, the band has a feel of its own, and it is very difficult to classify their music.

The album is poignant. It is not perpetually depressing, but it is gloomy. It is one of the finest "gloom" records ever made; it is inspiring. Each of the 12 numbers of this self-titled release has its own shade of somberness -- no two songs have identically same tempers, even though the general aura of the album is pallid.

Drop The Fear is a threesome, and all the three of them do vocals, drums, and keys -- in addition to guitars and basses that also feature prominently in the band's sound. So the album has omnipresent keyboard-noise, and a hodgepodge of drumbeats. As a matter of fact, the song "Gordon" is a fully drum-instrumental, with some "atmospheric" synth added.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The only female-member of Drop The Fear, Sarah, sings most of the songs on the album. She has a laidback style of singing, much like that of Dido and Moloko's Roisin Murphy. But she is a much better vocalist than either of them. Sarah's vocals make all the ruefulness of the album seem comforting and hopeful.

The main male accompaniment to Sarah's vocals, Ryan, has distressingly haunting vocals. On the heavily guitar-driven "Muranau," he has a rasping tone, very similar to the grunge-legend Layne Staley. On the trippy "Long Way From Home" he sounds as sensual and as spooky as Horace Andy. Ryan is as gifted of a singer as Sarah is, but he won't help all the downcast mood of the record get any brighter.

There is a rather strange and surprising fact about the outfit: it does not have a record label yet, and the album is being sold independently through a website based out of Denver, which is also where the band hails from. The sound, complexity, and the exceptional musical maturity of the album make it impossible to believe that this band doesn't have a record company.

Moreover, the production of the album is flawless and almost perfect, for its musical intricacy -- and this is a self-produced work. This record could fit as the work of the members of a well-established band, on one of their creative trips to produce something spectacularly imaginative -- and it turns out to be the zenith of their career, but for an indie band that is still struggling to clinch a record deal, this album is too good to be true: This is one of the greatest debut LPs ever made. Also, even for a debut LP, this record is simply too classy.

Drop The Fear represents the fact that not all music that hits the charts is good. Or, not all music that doesn't hit the charts is bad. It exemplifies the bitter irony of true talent, not getting credit for what it is -- this band should be one of the hottest new acts of the year. This band is gifted, and it will be a great loss to music, if this group's genius fails to get recognized sooner or later.

For more information on Drop The Fear, visit them at www.dropthefear.com.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2004 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Independent release, and is used for informational purposes only.