It seems fitting that Jessica Weiss began penning songs as soundtracks to student films since the Brighton-based lead singer and songwriter’s lyrics are rife with vivid imagery, intense drama, and compelling storylines. Fellow art student Guitarist Daniel Falvey met Weiss after an exhibition of her work inspired him, and drummer Michael Miles was later brought in to handle percussion. Together shoegaze trio Fear of Men creates a bittersweet sound by blending deceitfully upbeat melodies with melancholy tales.
The meat of Loom is sandwiched between two tracks titled “Alta”, which act as two halves of one song. The first “Alta” is a sweet, ethereal tune that features Weiss’ bare bones voice begging a paramour to return. On the catchy, fast-paced “Waterfall,” her high, harmonized vocals bring to mind the mighty pipes of Cranberries’ leader Dolores O’Riordan. During the soft, reflective “Vitrine,” the melody seems to be more evocative of the despair expressed within the lyrics, although Jessica’s vocals never seem to lose their sunniness. On the ambient “Tephra” she evokes tragedy against an optimistic sonic palette again, singing, “I sink like a stone with your weight upon me.”
The album ends on a more somber note with the second “Alta,” with Weiss sweetly serenading, “Sometimes I miss you when/You’re not around to turn me down.” While the juxtaposition of the cheerful and the bleak can be gripping, there are times when the grief could have been more fully palpable. Nevertheless, the songwriting is more complex and well-written that those found on your average pop album, due to her impressive ability to conjure dark symbolism for emotional crises. Loom is a masterful album, and even though it's a bummer at times, Fear of Men let us know that everything's going to be okay.
Loom is out now on Kanine Records!