• Julian Fane - Special Forces

    Reviewed by Gutta (gutterbreakz)

    Julian Fane - Special Forces

    Just when I thought I had all the bases covered, I unwrapped the cellophane from one of the CDs that Mike P. sent me, placed the disc in the tray, pressed play and then stood back in awed amazement as a serious contender for Album of the Year was suddenly revealed in all it's glory. Wot a shocker!!
    I was going to make some comparisons to everyone from Radiohead's Thom Yorke to Mercury Rev to Vangelis, but a quick google search reveals that this review at musicOHM covers all that already. Steve Hands makes an excellent job of placing Fane in context with some of the most effective/affecting alt.rock artists of recent years. I'd also add that parts of this album remind me of The Flaming Lips' "The Soft Bulletin", maybe even hints of Fennesz or My Bloody Valentine, but as Hands points out,"its a mark of Fane's skill as a composer that Special Forces hints at so many other artists, without ever moving away from the singular vision that defines it."
    Fane has indeed invested some special forces into this album. Not just his time and effort, but some naked, private, emotional part of his inner core. Although I struggle to make out what he's singing about most of the time, it's the delivery and the delicious soundworld in which he places it that makes this work on such a profound level. Take "Darknet", for example: utilizing a rhythm track like the sound of light-machinery, over which haunting electronic sustained textures flow like liquid metal, or the utterly arresting electric piano stampede of "In Space"- surely this is left-field electronica that 'normal' people can appreciate? A "Kid A" rip-off, you cry! - but this is a far more focused effort; from the opening hyme-like "Safety Man", to the heartbreaking instrumental closer "Exit New Year", it's immediately apparent that this is an album to be experienced, to become submerged within. Take the 'phone off the hook, lock the doors, turn the lights down and commit yourself to an hour in the company of young Mr. Fane as he takes you on a journey of rare beauty that I suspect will be one of those records, like MBV's "Loveless", who's importance will become ever more apparent over the coming years.
    MP3: Freezing In Haunted Water
    Here's a full-length track for you to 'cut-out and keep', (the anthemic pull of the 'chorus' being the most obvious choice for a single?) but really you need the whole thing in context to get the most out of this guy's talent.
    Yours, blown-away...

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