Angus Fenton is from Australia and has been messing around with sounds since 2007. He records wherever he pleases and relies and embraces the lo-fi grittiness that in this case seems to enhance the experimental nature of his songs. He cites on his Bandcamp page that Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Jack White and John Frusicante were influences but what's funny to me is that the songs don't sound much like any of these groups. His music sounds closer to a band like U.S. Maple in that the music is often out of tune, disorderly, dissonant and occasionally finds consonance to bring it all together. The first time you listen to the album you may be inclined to think these are poorly written and recorded tunes. But trust me that’s not the case; in fact there is heightened creativity at work here that is subtle and casual music fans may not appreciate. It doesn’t always work but it does more often than not and I applaud him for his willingness to step outside the box and make music that is original and questionable.
The first song on his album Where Rivers Run Red is “Joe’s Odyssey” which starts with a bass line that sounds like it was recorded straight into an M-box. After about a minute of hearing two basses playing with some kind of reverse effect I was thinking to myself “what have I gotten myself into.” While not the best track on the album it creates an odd meditative effect that is a bit hard to explain. “Still Here” is no less odd and again relies on bass but it’s phased out this time. Around the two-minute mark the bass fades away and we are introduced to Fenton’s fragile voice that sounds like he is whispering into your ear. He sings against piano that has a slight delay and some kind of white noise. “Lost In Night” sounds like an utter mess. Distorted guitars flare, organic drums are played poorly and it ends up becoming a mess of chaos - not bad because I liked the chaos. “Not Today” is probably the most conventional song on the album but it sounds like it is being played by a band that is heavily intoxicated by a dose of ether. The next song “Thoughts” has a similar drunken feel but relies on the tones of warm electronic piano and no vocals this time. The centerpiece on the album is the nine-plus minute track “Old Games.” The song is made up of a bluesy bass line, drums and the constant tinkering of phase, which is the coolest part of the whole song. It sometimes sounds like waves at the beach. The last song is called “Runaway” and trades in the organic sounding set for an electronic one and contains the best vocal melody on the album.
Suffice it to say you won't see Angus Fenton being played on the FM radio anytime soon but if you are feeling a little experimental I would suggest taking the time to at least check this album out. It is not for everyone but he is doing something that a lot of hardcore music fans will appreciate.
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