Brighton trio Fear of Men have returned with their first new song in over four years, “Into Strangeness”.
Since the release of Fall Forever in 2016, the indie rock outfit embarked on a North American headlining tour and played Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival 2018, so it’s not as if they’ve been idle. But they’ve clearly been working through some issues, either emotional and/or musical, to judge from the darker palette of “Into Strangeness.”
Previously, Fear of Men might have been lumped into the genres of dream pop or synthpop, but on “Into Strangeness” neither label applies. The song opens with aggressive rock drums and a free jazz saxophone solo. Luscious synths have been replaced with brooding minor-key pianos and distorted guitars. The lyrics wade deep into depression, with lines like “Stray from the light/ Fever dreams won’t subside/ Stuck in a haze.” With “Into Strangeness”, a band once known for weaving anxious lyrics into technicolor loveliness has now produced a black-and-white howl of anguish.
In statement, singer Jessica Weiss spoke of the origins of “Into Strangeness”, framing the song as a kind of musical exorcism. She said,
“It’s been a strange and extremely charged 4 years since we last released music. It’s been overwhelming and painful, hopefully leading to tangible positive change. In contrast, this time has personally brought a lot of healing, shutting the door finally on elements that have been toxic and draining in my life for too long. This song is an assertion of a voice, a cry of independence. As the lyrics state, I ‘spent a few years in tears, but now I’m steel’. It’s a song about the role of words in constructing the self. We create ourselves like books, and I’m ready to tell a different story.”
The band filmed the accompanying music video on phones from quarantine. The colorless imagery features evocations of witchcraft and 16th century pagan rituals, further underlining Fear of Men’s dalliance with gothic post-punk. Check out “Into Strangeness” below.
Fear of Men are currently working on their next full-length record, though no details have been announced.