I love a bit of sophisticated alternative art rock, so when former Dose lead singer Ewan Barr announced his new Leeds based project FEHLT (loosely German for “is missing”), it was always going to be worth a punt.
Ewan has moved to Leeds from the North East to study and continue his interest in graphic design. Having taken a quick look at his art influences in his graphic design, I note Ewan seems to favour a harder industrial style with functional fonts, hard lines and monochrome. It is perhaps no surprise this attraction to the stark and striking influences Barr’s music.
Whereas Dose (who released a couple of singles on Spotify) had something of a more obvious industrial noise thing going on behind the melody, the debut FEHLT single Closure is a far more subtle beast.
However, at just over 5 minutes long, that melodic beast can eventually be seen to be a Trojan Horse. That initial deceptively melodic jangle which forms the main refrain, on repeated hearing moves to a harder, more insistent and urgently paranoid sound.
I almost get a 1984 Orwell vibe; at first Big Brother is a benevolent helpful figure; as time passes he becomes a watchful tyrant. On the 30th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, I get a very striking vibe back to that intense feeling of control.
Musically the song Closure feels almost like a stripped back Joy Division; there is a gentle shoegaze deep voice fairly low in the mix, while that simple tune rolls ever onwards dragging everything along in its slip stream. I mean this in the nicest possible way but that melody is like a mudflow; play it long enough and the walls of your home will eventually succumb under its sheer weight of purpose. It is no surprise that FEHLT have caught the ear of the excellent Clue Records.
I’ve not been able to pick out the lyrics particularly but with a bit of jarring violin at the end of the song I’m guessing it isn’t a happy tale.
Joining Barr on this dramatic new venture is guitarist Will Shuttleworth, bassist Adam Rundle and drummer Ben Udin. FEHLT will be playing live on a support slot on Tuesday 26 November at the Brudenell Club before Deliluh and Lightening Mix.
The band have a rather cool limited edition tape release (only 25 available….no, 24 as I bought one) which may be able to be snaffled here if you are quick.
* Photo uncredited, taken from FEHLT social media.