For a genre as ubiquitous as indie-punk, there’s a particularly shallow pool of influences, probably because the majority of bands pick the same ones and run with them. North Carolina’s Faye aren’t really any different – this self-titled debut EP takes in liberal amounts of grunge and garage rock and puts it through a Sleater Kinney filter. And while there mightn’t be a whole lot to write home about in terms of originality, it’s a decent little release.
As is to be expected from a release like this, the earthy production job gives it a distinctively loose sound. The thick bassline on ’Teacups’ is a lot more pronounced and fluid than more polished releases, and there’s an omnipresent rumble in the gentle closer ’Ancient Bones’ that only adds to that rustic feel.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/245657528″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
The vocals on the other hand, couldn’t be more different. Sarah Blumenthal’s gentle, almost childlike croon is a lot smoother than any of the instrumentation, but it’s an interesting dichotomy that sometimes really works well. ’Vowels’ has a pleasant jangle that runs throughout, and ’Yellow Canary’ layers of reverb build up a palpably thick atmosphere.
As an independent entity, there’s nothing particularly wrong with Faye’s debut – it’s a pleasantly catchy slice of indie-punk that ticks all the right boxes. But compared to some of the genre’s heavyweights – or even the vast majority of the competition – there’s very little on offer here that you won’t have heard before. The fact that it’s only five tracks long is probably its saving grace – it keeps things concise without having to resort to fully cribbing ideas from others.
Judged on its own merits though, this is definitely a strong start. It’s a light, easy-going listen with plenty of character, both in its own composition and from the band itself. And that’s a hard thing to begrudge anyone.
‘Faye’ by Faye is released on May 13th on Tiny Engines.
Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)