The harder they riff the harder they fall. That could well be the tagline for many an album from a band at the harder end of the rock genre yet, as in all things with six strings and excessive amplification, there is always an exception to the rule.
So, are Fear Me December the exception to that rule? Let’s consider the facts. One listen to “Between Violence and Silence” and it is obvious that Fear Me December are a band clearly in love with both guitars and volume and that fact alone would place them in the melee with many other bands. However, giving the people what they expect is only part of this band’s ethos for there is a greater emotional depth on show here than the beer and bad haircut brigade are likely used to and that happens to be enough to generate, on reflection, an unexpected exception.
Those who have an imagination locked firmly in the past will still find much to worship in the confident machismo that Valentin Macagno’s solid rock guitar exudes and his undeniable talent turns songs like “Fake It” and “When It Is Over” into sonic weapons capable of making the aficionado of such things very happy. The counterpoint to his strut, however, is Lintu Doll’s impassioned yet curiously reflective approach to the lyrics culminating in the album’s killer tracks – the episodic “Dear Love” and the downright dramatic “City Lights”. The latter song, especially, would drive many a sensitive acoustic singer songwriter obsessed with Nick Drake to jealousy such is its heartfelt precision.
Whether “Between Violence and Silence” will prove too deep for the genre fans is a matter for conjecture but Fear Me December are to be applauded for putting heart into a genre that has long since lost its soul. Count me in as a fan.