Album Reviews

Fan Death – A Coin For The Well EP

(Pharmacy) UK release date: 18 January 2010

On the surface, Canada’s Fan Death (featuring the brilliantly named Dandi Wind and Marta Jaciubek-McKeever, as well as long-term producer Szam) tick all the aesthetic boxes for the current crop of ’80s loving, female-fronted pop acts. For one, they dress like they’ve recently raided a particularly niche jumble sale, all mismatched colours and bold prints, and in their press shots they nail that slightly dead-eyed far away stare that seems de rigeur.

Musically, however, Fan Death combine the cheap beats and wobbly keyboard riffs of the early ’80s with the string-drenched disco of the late ’70s. The gorgeous Cannibal opens with a fantastic combination of simple keyboard riffs, bass drones and skipping, sprightly strings that dance around the melody. As with everything else on this five-track EP (they’re currently working on their debut album), it features a brilliant chorus, Wind’s curiously breathy vocals telling a tale of obsessive love.

Opener Reunited is simpler but no less effective, with Wind singing in a deeper register over ascending synths that suddenly drop away to leave a brilliantly berserk keyboard solo. Elsewhere, Power Surge features more swirling strings and is the most obviously disco track on here, with Wind doing her best Donna Summer impression.

Soon takes the tempo down a few notches and is possibly the least successful thing here. As with La Roux – who also share a love of a certain era and feature a singer whose vocals might be mildly off-putting to some – the idea of creating an emotional reaction in the listener is hampered by the dry production, which has a habit of sucking the soul out of the song. Even so, there’s still a brilliant moment around the two minute mark when the keyboards suddenly take over and there’s not one, but two, delirious solos.

The EP ends with Son Will Rise, which mixes reverberating drumbeats and bouncing synths, Wind lost amongst the delirium. In fact, rarely on Coin For The Well do you notice (or care about) what’s being said, and though that may offend some, it’s not a record for pouring over closely or dissecting, it’s a record to put on and enjoy when you want to have fun and, perhaps, a bit of a boogie. If this is just a taster for what’s to come then we can be very excited indeed.

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More on Fan Death
Fan Death – Womb Of Dreams
Fan Death – A Coin For The Well EP