The sharp dressed trio Fantasist are back with the follow up to their debut “Giggle Juice”, though an acoustic EP ‘Suited and Muted’ has also been released to fill the gap.
A band that defies genres, Fantasist continue to make music the way they want, while wearing pinstripe suits. The nearest thing I can chuck at Fantasist and hope that it will stick, is that they sound like a rocked up version of Rush during the progressive mid sections on certain tracks, and Primus for the fun element on others, but that would be doing Fantasist a disservice.
Generic they are not, they combine complex song structures and time signatures with ease, and have produced an album that is both unique and appealing at the same time.
The opening track is confusingly called “The End” and is short enough to be an outro track. Quirky, you bet, but that is Fantasist all over.
“Watch It Crumble”, is this albums first full-length track, and while it is not a sure fire winner, it does help in understanding the Fantasist way to songwriting.
“Goodnight So Long” find the trio hitting their stride early with a heady mix of distortion, thundering bass lines, enveloped by one hell of a catchy chorus.
“Unity” finds Fantasist doing what they do best, obscure time signatures gives this song an identity, as Seb’s drumming takes center stage, filling the voids with unpredictable drum fills and tasty beats.
“Grim Fandango” and “Drugstore Cowboy” are two of the best tracks on here, as Ollie gets to join the party with some tightly controlled great guitar playing, spewing out chunky groovy riffs like there is no tomorrow.
Instrumental track “Portal” really showcases what this band can do, this is a song driven by six string bass player Robb. The song is technically brilliant and melodic with clever use of bass to create a huge soundscape for Fantasist to run around in.
Thump in particular showcases Robb’s funky bass grooves, The bassline on this is a stunning, the heavily distorted guitars work well, yet the song seems to be lacking overall, I’ve listened to this quite a few times now, and I’m still undecided.
What make’s a Fantasist song special is the three way harmonies that work so well on several of the songs. Seb, Robb and Ollie’s combine choruses on tracks such as ‘Fear The Worst’ are simply outstanding.
“Red”, pulls no punches with one of the best solo’s from Ollie on this opus, however the almost hauntingly beautiful “Bloodmoon” nearly steals the show.
Fantasist have saved the best till last however, “Almost Home” has a depth of lyrical passion other bands can only dream about, ending with an epic instrumental finish.
All three members are credited with the backing vocals on this album, and you can just about pick out their different styles, however it is Ollie who takes center stage sharing the vocals with Robb, these two trading verses with ease. Ollie has also done an admirable job in produceing this, pushing Robbs bass playing to the front of the mix, very unselfish that for a guitar player, so hats off to him for that.
Whilst there are no real weak tracks on this album, some definitely stand out more than others, however Fantasist mix up rock, metal, funk, jazz, doom, stoner, progressiveness in such a way that your never quite sure which direction a song is going to take, It twists and turns at every juncture, presenting the listener with something different new and exciting, and that can only be a good thing.
01. The End
02. Watch It Crumble
03. Goodnight So Long
05. Grim Fandango
06. Drugstore Cowboy
09. Fear The Worst
12. Almost Home