Texas trio Fanclub make music that, as we put it in a preview, “combines the heartfelt songwriting of Jay Som or Anna Burch and adorn it with dreamily retro electronics, creating pop that sparkles and shimmers like a valentine-pink neon billboard.” The band have just released their debut EP, All the Same, five songs that hit the sweet spot between syrupy and yearning.
Opener ‘Stranger’ sees Fanclub start as they mean to go on, throwback synths and shoegazey guitar the fluffy pillow upon which the saccharine vocals sit. Lyrically, the song isn’t quite so comfortable, though despite the falling-out-of-love theme it nevertheless reassures that others experience the same wax and wane of relationships. “Now let it go,” lead Leslie Crunkilton sings, “we’re all the same, we’re all the same.”
As we described previously, ‘Leaves’ is a warm and catchy heartfelt pop song, “Crunkilton’s vocals the perfect accompaniment to the honey sweet synths and blissful dream pop guitar, creating a song that sounds like a nostalgically fuzzy digital embrace.” It’s the standout on an EP of no filler whatsoever, a wildly evocative pop song, the chorus catchy despite its pensive delivery.
‘Swear’ sounds like throwback C86 nostalgi-pop that’s decided to ditch the fuzz in favour of crystal-clear sentiment, while “Reflection” pairs romantically sighing synths with dreamily noodled guitar. Closer ‘Dreamers’ has a similarly somnambulant atmosphere, a sleepy sigh of a pop song with a wistful core. It’s not an easy balance, but Fanclub are able to consistently create songs that are beguilingly listenable but that also possess considerable atmospheric depth.
All the Same is out now on Berlin label Friendly Reminder, and you can get it from the Fanclub Bandcamp page.