April 28, 2016

EP: Fake Boyfriend - Mercy

Fake Boyfriend takes heartache by the throat.

I don’t know what they’re putting in the water over in Philadelphia, but if they bottled it up, I’d be buying it by the gallon. If there's anyone who is good at channeling heartache, it’s the musicians in Philly. Need proof? Take Fake Boyfriend’s latest EP, Mercy. Fake Boyfriend is a three-piece comprised of Ashley Tryba, Sarah Myers, and Abi Reimold. Armed with battered guitars, harrowing bass-lines, howls, moans and all kinds of scowls seething in-between, Mercy takes pit-of-your-stomach feelings and brings them up the throat.

As if Babes in Toyland were born again, Fake Boyfriend is jagged in how they go after you. Opening with "Ship", the bass looms overhead – interrupted with bursts of ire as vocals throw themselves straight at you. Sporadic and severe, these shrieks and groans interject everything before falling back into that repeated bass line – a sound slow and impending, looking straight down at you. Following "Ship", the next couple of tracks are stripped and skinned down. In "Wax", eerie harmonies fill the air, set down like the song’s lower layer. As the band sings transparently over the top, they place their vulnerabilities into the palms of our hands, as they question how they see themselves: “If it seems like I’ve gotten better / will you look at me then? / If I write you another letter / will you respond to it?”.

The EP is only four songs long – two songs simmer in this feeling of transparent vulnerability, whilst the other two boil over the lid with raw aggression. In-between these two extremes, that slow, threatening bass snakes through every song right until the end of the last track. Above all else, the sound of this feels almost overseeing; all-knowing – like its bringing everything back together as we go through all the highs and lows of dealing with despair. With Mercy’s piercing ups and downs and its menacing take on heartache, Fake Boyfriend grabs misery by the throat and shoves it up against the wall until it sinks to the floor. Zigzagging between sharp yelps and ghostly harmonies, the band challenges how we deal with heartache – instead of a mournful sigh, it’s tossing your neck around and spitting back at what you’ve left behind.


Listen to Fake Boyfriend on bandcamp.

Madalyn Trewin, a scrawny Australian who is feeding her obsession with dogs, David Lynch and Daniel Johnston twenty-four hours a day. If not that, she's writing about things she likes and saturating her friends in glitter so she can take photos of them to post onto her blog.