Fall started for real last week, but here in New York, you wouldn’t quite know it yet. There’s that gradual transition between seasons, some days you wouldn’t want to walk around in anything other than a t-shirt and shorts. Then, some evenings bring a bite of chilliness, a reminder that this is only an afterglow you’re enjoying. The tipping point usually arrives in the beginning of October, and probably will do just that sometime next week. Appropriately, next week will also bring the release of the debut EP by Fiancé called EP1. It’s a collection of songs that perfectly embody the sensation of summer ending.
Fiancé singer/guitarist Andrew Fusca, guitarist Jeff Marvel, and bassist Tyler Yoder all met in 8th grade, kicking around in different bands before settling into Fiancé. Drummer Brian Bruce joined later, adding his propulsive, dynamic beats. He provides a welcome outsider perspective against the three guitarists whose interplay gels with the kind of near-psychic chemistry that comes from being friends for more than a decade. Together, they’ve become a staple of the music scene in Newark, DE, a relatively small city best known for housing the University Of Delaware.
“Newark is nice,” says Fusca. “It’s small and everyone in the music scene kind of knows each other. There is Main Street where all the bands play a lot. I personally like the fact that it is a college town and everything feels new, but it is grown-in and has an identity to it. But that’s just me. I know a bunch of people that hate it and just want to go other places like Philly and New York and what not.” That last part is telling when you consider Fiancé have gained attention living right where they do, simply on the strength of their songs, but one listen to “Era” and it’s immediately obvious: This was a band that was going to get noticed regardless of where they were.
“Era,” like the rest of EP1, was recorded by the band with a reel-to-reel tape machine borrowed from a friend. It was at times almost unnecessarily difficult to record this way, track by track, but in the end, “it kinda glued the sound together,” says Fusca. You’d think it would be easy to drift off in “Era”‘s breezy guitar swirl, but the band allows every layer of its sound to pop like a deep focus exposure. There’s Yoder and Bruce rushing grooves that carry the shimmering guitars, and Fusca’s voice melts into the instruments only to jump out at you with a sudden clarity. The track is bookended by a colossal vocal loop of a hook written by Fusca (“I was listening to a lot of late-’80s/early-’90s R&B at the time”) and sung by his sister, manipulated until the words can’t quite be made out, but the raw emotion shines through.
Each track that follows on EP1 only reinforces what “Era” made so clear. “July” and “Ivy” both hit with a driving urgency, with so many different little sonic delights buried throughout, begging to be found during multiple listens. Meanwhile, the nearly six-minute closer, “Another Year,” grows into an epic — before pulling you close in again with its heart-wrenching chorus. The band is currently at work on its debut album, and Fusca says he just wants people to hear those new songs, to see how much they’ve already grown and evolved since EP1. I believe him, but I also don’t mind waiting, since this little EP is one of the best indie rock debuts you’ll hear this year. Get to know it in our stream below and pick it up right here.
EP1 is out 10/7 via SQE.