Artist: Miss. FD
CD Title: Comfort for the Desolate EP
Label: Quantum Release Records
Released: June 18th, 2013
Building on the successes of her first two albums (2010’s Monsters in the Industry and 2011 Love Never Dies) Floridian Miss fd returns with her third full-length release. It is clear from the start that with this latest work she intends to build on these previous successes, adapting, growing, evolving all the time
For those of you new to Miss fd, let me explain that there is no voice out there quite like her smooth, sweet siren song. To give you an idea, comparisons could be made to Gwen Stefani’s sense of attitude, Garbage’s Shirley Manson heartbreaking cries and even (dare I say it!) Kylie Minogue’s upper register softness, but with a much darker twist.
However, unlike the aforementioned pop-princess, Miss fd is comfortable exploring themes as diverse as destiny, identity, existence, loss, hope, despair and ecstasy. . . this work is a tumble down a rabbit hole into a world of contrast and intensity
Opener Never Felt Better combines this unique voice with a simple piano refrain which, when juxtaposed with the sugary vocals, creates a sense of heartbreaking fatality so withering it almost physically hurts – you truly feel the journeys she has been on to reach this stage.
This haunting minimalism disappears come track two - Wanting is Not Enough, an up-tempo club-friendly stomp in which the pace picks up with steady oontz beats and a quirkily morish loop. On first listen the lyrics could seem almost overly direct were it not for the informed subject matter and cyber sensibilities. Nothing is ever quite as it seems with Miss fd and listen again and you will always find layers of dark subtext. She also clearly understands that it is easier to sound bittersweet if you first make sure you sound really sweet. On some tracks her voice is so butter-wouldn’t-melt that if it wasn’t for the darkly cerebral lyrics it could almost be pure pop.
With Dissolve the album begins to cloud over, moving away from the lighter synthpop vibe towards something more overtly gothic, taking on a more coldly lilting tone. This increasingly scary direction continues into Consciousness of Awe, when chilling chimes and hunting strings form the background to a drop in register which is quite startling when compared to the original sugar-sweet refrain. Who’d have thought such a sweet voice could reach such low notes so effortlessly?!
Lover of Fate picks the pace back up after the previous two hypnotically stripped back offerings, introducing an addictively bouncy club track filled with informed lyrics delivered from smoothly cutting honey vocals.
Incompleteness calms back down again, simple strings and keys forming the foundations to the next heartbreaking chapter. Miss fd certainly has a surgeon’s sense for making just the right incisions for maximum effect, and a sense of eerie minimalism stalks through all of the down-tempo tracks.
The Grand Version brings the journey to a close, twinkling pianos completing Incompleteness’s paradoxically bleak and hopeful vision. If you gel with this sublime album it will become one of those albums which is like a well thumbed book. Each of the chapters demands repeated listens both to peel back layers of meaning and just for the pure enjoyment.
Miss Fd is an artist with definite vocal and musical agility. . .for about half the tracks she is Miss fd the younger. . .bubblegum, running mascara and switchblades, able to make the sort of withering takedowns and gut wrenching observations which sting all the more for the subtly incisive innocence of their delivery. And for the other half she is the elder – sultry and sepia-toned, soulful and sorrowful, pulling you down into their haunting embrace. Both of these vocal styles stand front and centre in every track, and she has a presence which, if it can be felt this strongly through speakers, must make face to face encounters almost unbearably intense!
By the end she will be thoroughly under your skin and in your head, the hooks will stay in your consciousness but the transcendence of this tumble down the rabbit hole will keep you coming back for more.
Listen to the entire EP here:
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