Up to now, The Faim have released four original songs, and only one of them has come even close to justifying the hype that’s been thrust upon them. And while Midland Line is easily the most standard of them, it’s the sort of immediate, likable pop-rock they’d be wise to build on if they want to continue flying as high as they currently are. Except that’s not what they’ve been doing, and have instead preceded to move further and further from that touchstone with every subsequent track, finally culminating in the horrendous electro-ska-pop of A Million Stars as the final step towards this debut EP’s release.
And let’s be honest – it’s not as though, after all that, Summer Is A Curse will see The Faim make a U-turn to better pop-rock instead of continuing with the lumpen, overworked messes they’ve rapidly been defining themselves with. That’s unfortunately the case too, but while it would almost be shocking to see how far The Faim miss the mark by here, the presence of the other hands in the pot make all too much sense. Of course you’ve got John Feldmann behind the production desk to offer the same plasticity as every one of his works, but co-writing presences from Josh Dun and Ashton Irwin – neither one having produced much of quality in that role before – hope for success dwindles further and further.
That’s only reinforced by how lacklustre the final product is, and what feels like the seeds of ideas swamped by disconnected “experimentation” that serve no purpose other than to convolute the whole process even further. Take away the frankly disgusting amounts of vocal manipulation and overproduction from Make Believe and When It Comes, and they’d at least be a couple of decently heartfelt (albeit basic) piano-driven pop-rock songs. It’s why the title track is probably the best here; for all of its blurred-out, Imagine Dragons-esque plod, the production isn’t too intrusive and it can at least follow through with a cohesive idea to make it work in some capacity. Of course, doing that isn’t a guaranteed fix, as The Faim prove that, even at this early stage, they’re not averse to making songs that are totally beyond saving. A Million Stars’ awfulness has already been made apparant, but pitted against the half-baked EDM of I Can Fell You or the utterly rancid My Heart Needs To Breathe and its switch-ups from Set It Off’s cod-hip-hop swagger to Falling In Reverse-aping electro-polka (!), it seems considerably less worse. And all while this is going on, Josh Raven’s perfectly capable vocals are contorted to high heaven for no good reason, and the whole thing just feels even worse.
And there’s no joy in saying all of this at all; at least with some bands who’ve mismanaged themselves into the ground, there’s a certain catharsis that comes from tearing them to shreds for it. But with The Faim, there was promise, and to have it yanked out from under after one song is a punishment that no new band should have to endure. And really, Summer Is A Curse should’ve been more of what was initially offered, not this mess that one can only assume was some cruel joke played on the band to have this released in the first place, because this isn’t something to be proud of. And seeing as The Faim’s very first outing has seen them fall flat on their faces, there’s no definite answer as to whether they’ll be able to recover.
For fans of: Set It Off, Imagine Dragons, Fall Out Boy
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Summer Is A Curse’ by The Faim is released on 7th September on BMG Rights Management.