By: Forrest Cook
Fort Worth dark wave/garage-gaze band, The Fibs, released a new album last month on Dreamy Life Records. The self-titled LP offers ten songs, clocking in at just under forty minutes, and features the owner of Dreamy Life Records and Music, Robby Rux, on drums. It is available on vinyl, CD, and digital formats.
The album kicks off with the song “Waiting for a Train”, which I automatically perceived as a subtle nod in the direction of The Cure, one of The Fibs’ biggest influences (and a band I might be overly-obsessed with). They also list Joy Division, Echo and The Bunnymen, and Leonard Cohen as inspiration, whose sonic signatures are perhaps more obvious in the first track than anything from Robert Smith. The Fibs say that their music is crafted for nightcrawlers and vampires, and Preston Newberry’s intriguing lyricism leads to themes of gazey darkness and paranoia right from the get-go. He also shows range throughout the album, where no two songs are alike. “I think you are catching on to me,” he sings, rounding out the end of the opening song.
The second track, “Cut Hands” picks up both the tempo and a Cure-like sound. The song’s catchy lyrics and infectious bass line – performed by Jennifer Rux, who is also music engineer at Dreamy Soundz and plays in Fort Worth femme-punk band, Bitch Bricks – only lend to the sardonic narcissism of a depraved mind captured in the chorus. ”Cut off my hands so I won’t write this song, tell me what you like and I’ll tell you how you’re wrong.”
Tell me that combination of ingredients isn’t what makes new wave so great.The post-punk guitar work of Preston Newberry and Joel Raif is cast as a core to fall back on throughout the divergences of “The Fibs” LP, which encompasses a broad spectrum of sound. The band clearly leans heavily on their influences, but not without revealing plenty of originality, hailing as they do from the Fort Worth post-punk/indie scene.
It is clear that substantial thought and excellent production went into each little nook and cranny of this release and the level of experimentation apparent may make it appealing to Jack White and prog fans. Each song on the album keeps it fresh, and a decent flow is maintained from track to track. Many, like “Stella”, provide the illusion of a direct link to the band’s musical predecessors. In all, I get the impression that this could be the soundtrack to one of my favorite 80’s films, but that’s pretty much what I’d expect out of a band whose drummer owns a record store.
This is a really good album from a hardworking local act, who has recently been stringing together small tour-runs up to Chicago and out to the west coast, trying to make some noise on a national level. I think that noise will to appeal to a lot of people.