The Big Other

Fiction

Moshi Moshi Records, 2013

http://www.fictionlondon.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/15/2013

One of the most promising indie-rock bands from London, Fiction took their time piecing together their debut album The Big Other. In the years that have lapsed since their singles turned heads, the quintet have been refining their unconventional indie template, a sound that will remind you of all your favorite bands from the '80s while putting a refreshing spin on today's version of underground rock. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

First track “Parting Gesture” lets us know immediately what Fiction’s influences are, frontman Mike Barrett's voice reminding of Joy Division while the synth and haunting backdrop support him up well. “Careful” follows and further solidifies the '80s vibe with a more catchy feel, the synth and bass melodies sounding beautifully nostalgic in a Cars sort of way. One of the many strengths here is that the focus shifts from instrument to instrument constantly. While “Mirror Box” makes great use of the bass, “Step Ahead” has guitar work that would make Johnny Marr smile. “Vertigo In Bed” is where the drums come into focus, and on "Be Clear" things move into Caribbean influenced territory.

It's important to note that nothing here is as straightforward as it seems. Every tune has experimental ideas with an undercurrent of hooks that come together with extremely well-done production and tight-knit musicianship. Though there are basic pop moments present here, they are isolated; “Big Things” is all sugary sweet and the upbeat melodies of closer “The Apple” collide with a soaring vocal display, but even these more accessible tunes aren't your garden variety pop songs by any means.

Somewhere between post-punk and electro-pop, Fiction offers fans of unique music like as XTC, Talking Heads or current luminaries like Yeasayer or Vampire Weekend plenty to investigate. While a lot of their peers go to great lengths to sound “different,” the artistic, playful and intelligent  Fiction make it seem very natural and never contrived, a genuine breath of fresh air.

Rating: B+

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© 2013 Tom Haugen 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 Moshi Moshi Records, and is used for informational purposes only.