Gentle riffs phase over an ethereal mix, while a bass line provides structure and form, glossing over an icy tune before the drums arrive to elevate the energy. Seattle’s Fotoform is entirely in sync in their latest record Horizons. This record is cold, brooding and ethereal, conjuring and referencing an 80’s era of music where distress and unease runs as chilling as today (The Cure, Slowdive and Cocteau Twins immediately come to mind). If you’re looking for dream pop, shoegaze and post-punk that puts a lens in our current time, then this is the right record for you.
Geoffrey Cox’s riffs glimmer over the lead single “Running”, punctuated by the restless rhythms of Michael Schorr. The melodies evoke a sense of urgency from its narrator, but they are confused – merely running around without direction. It’s the vocals of Kim House that guides this song along with the rest. Featuring some spine-chilling pipes and sharp lyricism. On top of that, her bass lines add counterpoint that provides a much needed edge to the cool textures surrounding it.
Horizons ultimately asks the question – which is outlined in opener “Shadow spreads” – about how we can recover from these dark times “We’ve moved so far away from truth” House ponders, as dissent multiplies and bridges are burned around us. It’s these haunting but very real questions that accompany us through the cold and dreamy landscape of this record.
Later, in “We only have so long”, the music simmers slowly into a deep sentiment of concern. The scene shifts from a dark nightclub into an empty and frayed cathedral. House’s vocals move into a higher place, with the reverb echoing her search for hope. The echo lasts through the next track “Let’s shut out the world” where she resolves with full falsetto to overcome her worries. Here the guitars and synths exude more warmth while the drums come packing with a heavier punch. There is a light out there, we only have to reach out and do our best.
Fotoform celebrates their influences while putting in their own personal touch. Horizons is nostalgic while taking on its own strides to move forward, to see the world for what it currently is adding hope to what it can be.