Review of Wedding Dress Album by Fawn Spots

Thankfully this is not the BBC. I do not need to argue both sides, put forward the views of the passionate and opinionated or justify myself to the DG. Nor do I need to wrestle with my sense of taste and decency with a band name so obviously provocative/misguided/unfortunate and juvenile. Whilst there is a need to be objective, there is no such need for balance... which on this occasion is a small blessing. Wedding Dress, a combined release of ten tracks, by Fawn Spots and Cum Stain is not without its flaws.

Fawn Spots Wedding Dress Album

The first four tracks by Fawn Spots are all messy affairs. Each part of each song seems to be trying to distance itself from the other components. The manic guitar and flustered drum arrangements are at odds with the anthemic, Americanised, stadium rock vocal delivery on all four tracks. The York trio of Jonathan, Oliver and Sean seem intent on creating their own genre of tri-polar garage thrash. While the vocals are mixed in at 33rpm, the rest is played at 78rpm. A forlorn Foo Fighters fantasy sits atop an uninspiring and hackneyed pastiche of some of SLF bedroom demo. If you're expecting a dynamic, explosive or fresh take on punk or garage rock this isn't it. Without exception, each track starts with promising intent, unfortunately this all too soon collapses into a confused cacophony. The Stooges ('I Wanna Be Your Dog') influenced 'National Anthem' is Fawn Spots best track here and taken in isolation is tolerable.

Cum Stain; Really, what were you thinking, or were you not? Was the name a result of a three day bender or some double dare? I bet your mothers are so proud. Airplay?... No. Reviews?... Less likely. Gig coverage?... Well, if the band name's a joke the likelihood is that so are the band. C'mon. It might be mildly amusing when you're thirteen but this name has surely got to change. Anyway, taking the band name aside, the final six tracks are quite imaginative, creative and individual pieces... should anyone ever get to hear them!

Their six track sequence is headed up by 'Ghost Love', a song infused with 60's psychedelic surf pop. The vocal styling takes a leaf out of the Mark E Smith condenser microphone song book and is very effectively hooked up to a stream of infectious fuzzy guitar riffs set to an alienated and detached percussive arrangement. More West Coast inflections are heard from the Oakland band on 'Sippy Cup' before Dylan meets The Jesus And Mary Chain on the blistering 'Bloody Finger'. 'Can't Take It' slows the pace with a near 'Teenage Kicks' intro before the more frenetic, closeted Cramps, 'Sit And Twist' and the gloriously scuzzy and filthy feel of 'Rollin' Wrong' drawing the album to a close.

Wedding Dress by Fawn Spots and Cum Stain (It irks me to even type it!) is definitely an anomaly. Two bands from opposite sides of the Atlantic sharing an album launch. Two bands, although you're pushed into being persuaded otherwise, with little in common musically. It's difficult to see who benefits, certainly not the listener. Whilst the Yorkshire band Fawn Spots may gain further exposure to compliment their acclaim as a great live band, they've not delivered any potency here. California's Cum Stain on the other hand have at least shown glimpses of brilliance within the individuality of their songs which, with a degree of mastering, could be quite special.

Andrew Lockwood.  

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