When girls write that they have crushes on musicians in their reviews, it’s a form of flattery. It’s cute, and wholly acceptable, if not entirely expected. I, as a manly dude guy fella, am hesitant to say that I have a crush on Perth’s progressive instrumentalist Fait, out of fear of being branded a desperate creep.
It’s a weird dynamic, because there is absolutely nothing grippingly sexy about her music, I just feel like we’d get along really well because she’s just produced a fucking amazing EP. I also have a thing for brunettes who know who Explosions In The Sky are – I’ve only ever met one.
Elise Higgins is the brain and the face of Fait – alongside live sound recreators Michael Antonas, Rob Stephens and Darrell Sundai. I use the word ‘live sound recreators’ rather than backing band because this album is more easily understood as a group of arranged sounds rather than as how we would traditionally appreciate music.
Layers upon layers upon layers upon layers of ambient, orchestral pads, cavernous drumbeats and cruising, gliding guitars come together on this album and take the listener on a journey. The first single Slow Glow has already been praised for it’s progressive form, rather than a structured chorus, verse, chorus, verse pop format, and it’s ability to create interesting soundscapes and tell stories entirely with music, Fait’s songs lacking completely in lyrics.
It’s branded shoegaze/dream pop, but in actuality the EP bears more similarity to 00’s studio post-rock. Lacking in the relaxed intensity and post-postpunk attitude of shoegaze and formatted entirely outside the realm of pop, Fait bears more similarity to classical instrumental soundtrackers like This Will Destroy You, Caspian, Mooncake and God Is An Astronaut.
If you’ve already heard Slow Glow, you’ve pretty much heard the best song on the EP, although even in saying this I don’t feel I’m doing Fait’s release any justice. Slow Glow is as ‘singley’ as the album gets, shall we say, and it’s easier to understand the album in terms of ‘movements’ rather than by the tracklisting. Oh man oh man did that sound pretentious. Fun fact – I went and saw Godspeed You! Black Emperor by myself. #YOLO.
The best bit of the album is the latter third, starting with the crushing Surrender To, which completely blows both Koto and Slow Glow out of the water in terms of sheer epicness. Building up with a guitar riff that could in an alternate universe belong on an Interpol track, a single distorted note is repeated to herald the arrival of an insane breakdown on a scale normally reserved for bands from Japan.
This schitzophrenic attack and release structure is rinsed and repeated, until we are completely let loose to dangle among the stars, completely egoless, floating in the impossible emptiness of Lucid Dreaming.
The only downside to this EP is that the songs aren’t long enough. This might be a product of the confused mix between Dream Pop and Post-Rock that Atmosphere belongs in – generically the songs are straight up soundtrack worthy, yet the five songs (with the exception of Slow Glow) each clock in the very modest 3:00-4:00 minute mark.
The radio-friendly length makes the changes and evolutions on the tracks seem rushed and sudden – this genre is often at it’s best when presented painfully slowly.
Atmosphere is almost a perfect album – so, utterly close to my favourite release this year. I’ve been hanging out for a good post-rock release from Australia for as long as I can remember (Slumberhaze came close with their debut but their follow up was pretty disappointing if I’m honest, and Sleepmakeswaves haven’t released anything for as long as I’ve been writing for Happy) and Atmosphere ticks 99.99% of the boxes.
You can catch Fait launch the EP at The Bird in Perth at the end of the month (31st May).
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