Fictionist begins their self-titled fourth album with “Cut String Kite,” which carries a haunting, indie feel. It seems to blend elements of the 90s together beautifully. The bass plays a strikingly clear role in the song, providing a bit of an edge. The track itself is unusual, especially with the electro coming into play. “Miss You” has a similar sound, but definitely focuses more on the timing of the beats, and plays up the vocals, which rise and harmonize, giving the track a rich quality.
“Not Over You” comes in with bouncing piano, electronics, and clear-cut rhythm. However, the lyrics have a classic feel to them, with an almost vulnerable, poetic stance on the struggle of letting go. The distortion of the vocals are reminiscent of early Duran Duran, but manages to get by without sounding like a cheesy imitation. It’s not my absolute favorite, but it’s a decent track that I could easily warm to. “Free Spirit” has more of an edge that appeals to me, as well as timeless style. Despite a melancholy subject (having to let someone go if they don’t want to stick around), there is an upbeat tone to the music that is both catchy as hell and also clever. Each element of the song flows perfectly, and need we mention the epic guitar solo as the song nears conclusion?
Starting off, “Lock and Key” is soft, with a grit to the vocals, then adds in 80’s synth, and elements of 90’s grunge. It’s hauntingly realistic, and draws on the human characteristic of fear of giving yourself fully to the people in your life. By far, this song carries the most emotional weight. “Even though I’m scared, I think I love you…” is chanted repeatedly, capturing a sense of fear, frustration, and even desperation.
“Statue In The Stone,” much like “Not Over You,” focuses heavily on piano. With swelling vocals, Fictionist seem to take the album up a notch, with their musicality expounding over genres and eras in music. The instrumentals on this track are fantastic, and definitely worthy of note, as is “Can’t Get Enough,” which sounds very cinematic (see also “City At War”).
Fictionist give listeners a dose of surprise with “Give It Up,” which has more of a rock edge than its predecessors, but by the chorus, the glitchy/electro-pop sound bounces in, only adding to the character of the track. “Leave The Light On” contains that same technical sound, but shows the band’s versatility with a raw sound, which allows them to be a bit more vulnerable. It may be my favorite on Fictionist, although its a toss-up between this and “City at War,” which finishes off the album perfectly, maintaining the general vibe of the album, but with a more daring push to try something new. The guitars on the track will make rock legends jealous; guaranteed.
In many ways, this reminds me of The Maine’s Pioneer, not necessarily because of the sound, but because of the explorative tone. Fictionist play with their creativity and seem to push at their “boundaries” to find a sound that fits them, without a label’s (in this case, Atlantic Records) input. Not only does it sound fantastically liberated, but the boundless talent of the band shines through enough to make them stand out.
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