Fen – ‘Of Losing Interest’

This fifth album from these Vancouver progressionalists – and their second for the impressive Californian label, Ripple Music – is certainly an interesting offering, and definitely one which bears more than one listen, given its complexity and depth.

At first, it comes across as a purely retrospective slab of prog, but a closer examination of what is actually drifting from your speakers and seeping into your psyche rapidly turns into a very rewarding experience.

Some of the musical references are immediately clear – Porcupine Tree are very clearly an influence on the quartet’s sound, while there are clear touches of Coheed And Cambria (both bands unashamedly mentioned in the accompanying press biog, so we make no apology for reproducing the comparisons here) – but others only become clearer as you immerse yourself deeper into the auric glow of the nine tracks, with the light-shaft touches of Camel sitting alongside the heaviness of, say, A Perfect Circle, or even Opeth… and even hints of the Foo Fighters jostling with elements of latterday Led Zeppelin or even a recidivist, revisionist Gong, with its restrained but highly effective use of background soundscapes.

The musical performances are all perfectly suited to the clarity and depth of the material, and are matched by an excellent production – although Doug Harrison’s vocals are a touch twee in places, especially when delivering some truly trite lyrics (check out the chorus to ‘The Glove’ – it would do Frank Zappa proud!). But, that is a mere quibble, as there are some great moments on here – such as the pure retro of opener ‘Riddled’, the glorious bass-led  morbid boogie vibe of the title track or the coiling closing riff of the excellent ‘Snake Path’.

[7.5/10]

Track list:

1. Riddled
2. Of Losing Interest
3. Nice For Three Days
4. A Long Line
5. The Glove
6. Drunken Relief
7. Light Up The End
8. Pilot Plant
9. Snake Path

‘Of Losing Interest’ is out now on Ripple Music and can be bought here: http://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/product/fen-of-losing-interest-cd

About Mark Ashby

no longer planetmosh staff
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