For the last three years, Scottish based, but Brighton born Fvnerals have been honing their art, an often beguiling mix of ethereal and claustrophobic. The band live in that dark and often unforgiving hinterland of emotional and oppressive soundscapes which can either sound like utterly pretentious cobblers or deeply moving and affecting fayre, dependent on your point of view.
To date, the band have regaled us with two EPs (The Hours and The Path) and their you- never-get-a-second-chance-to-make a first impression, the dark and broody LP The Light.
Wounds (Golden Antenna Records/The Native Sound) is one of those albums that its advocates will tell you needs to be listened to in one sitting to let the mood and the emotions envelope you. They would be right. This is fairly bleak and initially difficult stuff but upon repeated listening takes on a unique welcome although given the subject matter is loss, loneliness and dislocation it is obvious that this is not for the faint of heart nor ear.
I am no fan of the phrase “takes you on a journey” but such a phrase would, in this instance, be apt. Fvnerals is immersive and discombobulating. It makes you feel uneasy and uncertain: of getting lost, being lost and generally feeling out of sorts. The dark, inviting wood on the album’s cover is particularly apt.
Whilst the band have moved on from their original ethereal sensibility, what’s still in place is the harsh, claustrophobia and doom laden love of the riff. Of particular note, the emotional heft of lead vocalist Tiffany Strom creates a sense of melancholy and despair throughout the seven tracks on offer here. The, ahem, chill of ‘Shiver’ is a notable standout: it has a fragility and aching running through its icy veins. Similarly, closing track ‘Where’ is haunting and affecting.
Hard to pigeonhole and all the better for it, Wounds is the sort of record that you have no expectation of but will come back to, but only on those dark, dark nights of the soul.