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“DD Review: Fotoform – Fotoform.”

Score: 8.5/10

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I think if my last review on this site should indicate anything, it’s that sometimes it’s nice for its own sake just to hear any music that isn’t utter processed goop. This being said, if Fotoform has a flaw it’s that they can sometimes come across as TOO bootleg — like they’re your little brother’s band which is too aware that being a little brother’s band is actually cool, in hipster sectors (such as Fotoform’s native Seattle, for that matter).
Balancing out this DIY and DIY-minded tenacity (I couldn’t find who produced the album but I assume it’s the band themselves, as it sounds very live and these individuals have been professional musicians for close to a decade), then, is the phenomenal sonic prowess of the guitar team (Geoff Cox, Stephen Jones, Greg Forschler), which at any time is capable of “treating” the sound into something thick and liquid a la Johnny Greenwood (as on “Every Instant”), or thinning it out so that its riffs flow naturally alongside the rest of the soundscape (“If You Fall,” et. al.)
The band’s Bandcamp page says that they “create beautiful guitar-based dream post-punk” and “recall the gauzy atmospheres of the UK,” and indeed, any fan of early-day The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (which is most people, I think) should enjoy Fotoform’s debut album, the spawn of what was formerly C’est La Mort. Still, it’s never such a simple playbook, and what really sells Fotoform is the sort of genuine, inscrutable quality of Kim House’s voice (also the bass player). She never sings like she THINKS she’s too cute — rather, her croons have this coy, overwhelmed quality, as if she’s aware of the extreme heterogeneity of her audience in mindset and demographic. Still, more than catering to the audience or crowd-pleasing, she sounds at all times very much attached to her own songwriting vision, and ultimately this is the reason why Fotoform works, the versatility of all the instrumentalists and the tightness of the group not hurting the excursion, for that matter.

 

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