Release Date: Mar 24, 2015
Record label: Critical Heights
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
York, England punk trio Fawn Spots started in 2011 as a duo, bent on the same intention of making as much noise as humanly possible as most punk bands do. In the years between their blustering early days and the 2015 arrival of their debut album From Safer Place, the band went through some serious changes of direction, still making a respectable amount of noise, but injecting their blasts of hardcore fury with the same kind of searching unrest and emotional undercurrents that fueled the fire of early punkers like Hüsker Dü or Rites of Spring. This is apparent not only in the heavy themes of existential dread and universal emptiness shouted by lead vocalist Jonathan Meager, but also in the way songs erupt in fits of both angry dissonance and tense melody.
If you’ve been to a small DIY/punk show in the UK in the last four or five years, there’s a strong chance you’ll have been bludgeoned by the force of Fawn Spots’ live show. In a sector of the music community which is fuelled by the blood, sweat and tears of a clutch of hard-working individuals, the perma-touring York trio are one of the most industrious bands around, with a string of releases to their name, as well as co-running the prolific (and excellent) label Bad Paintings. They’ve hooked up with Critical Heights (part of the Fire Records empire) for the release of their debut album From Safer Place, and it certainly doesn’t appear that this newfound clout behind them has blunted their edge or softened their intensity.
This band’s name conjures up freak folk, or gently plucked melodies in spring meadows. Recorded and engineered by this York, England, trio in abandoned sheds in a Georgian garden just outside that city, this album may suggest ballads to the uninitiated. Instead, From Safer Place, the band’s first full-length album, unleashes an assault of hardcore and post-punk, as if rather from New York (or at least Brooklyn these trendy days).
York noiseniks Fawn Spots have meandered around the margins since they formed in 2011. A couple of personnel reshuffles have impeded their progress, but the clutch of DIY 45s they’ve released to date (a split EP with the delightfully monikered Cumstain; a 7” for Louder Than War and a more recent split 7” with Scott & Charlene’s Wedding) have all bristled with infectiously righteous energy. New drummer Paddy Carley recently arrived to supplement guitar and vocal frontmen Jonathan Meager and Oliver Grabowski, and this significantly tighter Fawn Spots is showcased on their debut LP From Safer Place.