Album Reviews

Fony – Circles

(Copro) UK release date: 20 October 2003

Fony - Circles Another week, another release slides off the Copro production line. Having been privy to the previous two, and now this, Fony‘s sophomore effort, we have a winner. Yes, Fony take the biscuit – by a mile.

The young quintet have delivered one of the most original albums by a nu rock band in years. With this in mind, the prolific five (who only formed three years ago) were probably doing some forward thinking about their sound, so when it came to choosing a name, Fony is a pretty accurate irony to blemish onto an unexpecting world.

Nu metal might be sagging more quickly than Arnold Schwarzenegger’s muscles, but Fony – who are anything but – are confidently striding into a musical soundscape which has very little to do with either cod teenage angst or neanderthal thuggery.

Raised on a mixed diet of prevalent early ’90s grunge, hardcore, and alt rock (Jane’s Addiction and Tool are among the influences listed), Fony are a rare element of the generation who have compiled these disparate genres into their own sound.

This is none more so than on Emeritus, a grunge-core anthem commanded by Olly Gibbons’ stunning vocal scope. One second Matt Bellamy (Muse), the next, throat-scalding hardcore. But it’s the ethereal metamorphosis in the song, and indeed across the album, which Fony deserve acclaim for.

The emo-core on Satire For The World (with Gibbons eerily hollering as Matt Bellamy v2.0) is the ultimate oxymoron for what’s to come – the brittle, riff-driven intensity of Strobe and the innovative Black Widows And A film Noir. This is a non-conformist emulsifying of rigid hardcore, with the elegant sedated moments of Jeff Buckley and Jane’s Addiction.

There’s also a surprise early on with track four, Helium – a layered, post-grunge acoustic ballad that ex-Alice In Chains man Jerry Cantrell would cheerily acknowledge.

That said, Circles is not a flawless, groundbreaking masterpiece (which is still well overdue in terms of nu rock). Indeed, the title track’s languid instrumental refrain (just shy of six minutes) is uncomfortably lodged between a couple of hardcore opuses, the latter of which (I Mar The Chance) is susceptible to some hardcore overindulgence. The boys manage to recompose themselves for the home straight, with January Zen (a reference to Jane’s Addiction’s vintage Pigs In Zen?) a mystic hardcore romp and surely a candidate for the next single.

While Fony may at times appear to be pouring over a sound they can lay claim to, their teetering between one sound to the next makes them an exciting prospect and bodes well for album number three. This is recommended for nu rock and hardcore fans looking fora breath of fresh air. My money’s on album number three doing for Fony what White Pony did for the Deftones. Well, maybe…

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Fony – Circles