The six-piece Australian outfit released their debut album, ‘So Long and Thank You’ on 4th August 2017 – for some, the release may have gone unnoticed, whilst for the select bunch aware of the matter, the occasion proved to be a monumental victory lap.
After years of transitional momentum, promising writing sessions, long rehearsals in cramped practise spaces, tightly managed production budgets, sweaty live shows and day-job stress; everything eventually accumulated into the breathtaking release of 46 minutes of pure indie-electro dance-rock majesty, FAIRCHILD finally arrived at the precipice. The much-dreamed about career be-all, a body of work that will be named and culminate as their ‘life work’.
Now the idea of a ‘life work’ may seem dramatic to some but when you take in the gravity of the situation, that this, an eleven-song project that’s taken its six members to the other side of world and back, a labour of love that has seen in many defining times as well as the trying ones, but in the end has found the band together and stronger than ever. It’s the realisation that others will hear this work, enjoy it (or maybe even dislike it), feel something for it and take it with them throughout their lives, that all but justifies the enormity of the milestone. And this is not even estimating the value of shared investment which the music understandably holds for its individual members – the time spent, the day-to-day frictions, the emotional strain entailed to get those lyrics, the musical epiphanys, the intimacy of each other that they now share; the list goes on and on, and for that reason we’d say it is defining of a ‘life’s work’.
The album trawls the pathways of twenty-something experience, through misadventure, friendship, loss and a fluttering of curiosity (because we all need to flirt with danger at least once in our lifetime). The singles provide great thrills and starstruck choruses, harrowing moments with ‘be careful what you wish for’ takeaways, appreciative footnotes that remind us how lucky we are to be still here, and then’s there’s the frenzied, no-reproach tell-all’s that just zing straight off the page. FAIRCHILD don’t mess about. If someone hurts them, they do a Taylor Swift and put those feelings to song, there’s no shying away from purpose here. Music is for fun but also treated in seriousness, no frivolous larking about needs to be tolerated. It’s go hard or go home. Especially in the case of songs like ‘Hot Rod,’ where a fluorescent synth-guitar combo charges at full-speed down a highway of contentious disruption, hoping to displace the subject in truth to provoke a revelation.
‘Breathless‘ is the eventual come-down once crippled by the irresistible allure of a risky decision, its the chain reaction of events that spiral out of control and send a person into total catastrophe – a lack of foresight can be treacherous in the wrong hands but set to starry-eyed synths and Foals-esque atmosphere, the track is equally seductive and intelligent. One of the most important tracks to appear on the album is ‘Start Again,’ for its message of positivity. Here the band flip the face-value meaning of ‘starting again’, to focus rather on salvaging what those testing moments represented, so it’s not life lived and wasted but instead existence challenged and reviewed to help guide you towards a better version of yourself. What better message to give to someone? And it doesn’t hamper proceedings that alongside these great ruminations, a lyric video for the track saw an unusually gender-bending lead singer take to pink lippy and purple eye-shadow like a fish would to water. Marvellous.
Mixing fun and games with serious musicianship is FAIRCHILD’s jam, so it’s only right that ‘Neighbourhoods‘ takes all these elements and has an excellent time in doing so. Taking New Wave influences to the extremes, fancy guitar work trails a dance groove as epic as the lusting voice tracing the narrative, still a glimmer of hard-hitting truth is evident and echoes a tale of unrequited feeling. What becomes clear from the trio of ‘Nom De Guerre‘, ‘Dancer‘ and ‘Relevance‘ is FAIRCHILD’s supreme ability to transcend genre, through uses of interesting variations in tempo and a strict intelligence directed into every guitar part, drum pattern, vocal delivery, bass and keys progression – its this attention to detail and instinctual indie-dance focus which promotes the band’s core strength.
Listening to the tracks that feature on this record, there’s no reason to say that they couldn’t stand alongside the heavyweights in the mainstream – these songs are infused with an originality most can’t even deliver (or won’t); there’s mass appeal even if it is given in an alternative format; the music has passion, the players don’t just play, they connect with their instruments, which in turn resonates outwards to the listeners realm. The title track is more personal than anything else, written by a collection of the group’s members as a dedication to guitarist Tim Voeten’s late father, the track is sombre in its oscillating synths and darkened opening vocals, but this is soon rectified once the key percussive claps quicken and head for a chorus. The lively pulse of airy indie-guitar and dance beats soon ignite the space and trailblaze into an anthemic close – no wonder they’ve been known to end their live shows with the track, it’s euphoric songwriting and a testament to their brave talent.
Enduring sentiments like ‘So Long and Thank You‘ is what makes music so meaningful and valuable – the stuff of legend, because these short bursts of passion and intensity cut through the otherwise dreary routines of outside life and reflect back at us, a nuanced, multi-dimensional creation of humanity. It is this element to resonate beyond anything anybody else can initially imagine, that makes music an art-form like no other, one that will be forever needed and experienced.
FAIRCHILD’s debut album ‘So Long and Thank You’ can be streamed and/or purchased here via Canvas Sounds.