FXRRVST – May XXVI
The first studio offering from Toronto based duo FXRRVST entitled May XXVI is a nine song release that shows a remarkable amount of development from an act that’s only been playing together since 2015. The conflicting styles that are the fortes of Matthew Fuentes and Holly Forrest would seem to need more gestation for a proper synthesis, but the mix present on May XXVI never errs on the side of over indulgence and, instead, percolates along thanks to a well harnessed tension that’s ever present in the music. Forrest handles the album’s lyrical content to a noticeably positive effect and has more than adequate pipes for conveying her specific, yet universal, and often literary flavored words. The tandem has yet to fully establish themselves as a presence on the touring circuit, but a quality release of this magnitude will undoubtedly assist them in landing gigs and even plum festival slots. Their act is fully developed and there isn’t a single hole or hiccup to be found.
“Road to Nowhere” tells us something about the general lyrical tenor of the album, but it further shows how Forrest and Fuentes have the good sense as songwriters to cut against that sometimes bleak point of view with appropriately entertaining and redemptive music. The resulting contrast gives the songs a charged, crackling quality that’s impossible to ignore and clearly inspires the players and singer, to a certain extent, to go the extra mile during their performances. “Drown Me” is a powerhouse rock number with real commercial potential, though you get the feeling listening to it that the song came out that way rather than being plotted out in any sense. It’s one of the most impactful numbers on the album, but maybe for reasons you wouldn’t expect. It isn’t the brash and intense musical thrust of the piece, but rather how it shows the duo and their collaborators capable of bringing an intense and melodic mood to a song while still keeping it close to what casual listeners will be looking to hear. Any rock fan will find qualities to admire with this track. “Tidal Wave” is similar in the sense that the song has promotional single written all over it – the duo, in fact, tabbed this song as their first release from the album. It’s more melodic than the aforementioned song, however, and the guitars aren’t nearly as omnipresent as before.
The last indisputable highlight we’re treated to before the conclusion comes with the tune “Safe House”. It’s a song where the duo obviously narrowed their focus some musically, relying on hoary blues motifs, but there’s also an unhappy eloquence to the acoustic guitar that recurs just enough to deeply enrich the song. The mid-tempo saunter of “June 8th” gets a very personal sounding lyric and Forrest gently caresses out each word. It’s carefulness, however, that rewards the audience rather than serving his own ego. FXRRVST is quite unlike any other acts of their ilk populating the indie and alt scene alike, but they share enough of the same strengths that they’ll surely garner a fast fanbase among those listeners.