Indie rock is finally at a crossroads amidst an industry becoming more and more centered on the needs and motivations of the artist, and given the circumstances, Fitzsimon and Brogan are taking advantage of modern times better than most of their peers are right now. In their new album This Wicked Pantomime and its songs, such as “A Toy for Juliette” and “Ghost at the Feast,” Fitzsimon and Brogan carry on the torch of forgotten bands like Green Pajamas through a neo-bohemian approach to contemporary rock songcraft, and while they don’t necessarily break any new ground with this record, they definitely release something that lives up to the hype. This Wicked Pantomime is a brooding LP, but lyrics aren’t its only means of expressing great emotion to those in the audience. 

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The rhythm plays a pretty important role in setting up the mood in “Pretty Blue Gun,” “Dancing Partner” and the thrusting “Desolate Angel,” and because of its prominence throughout the record there’s never any question as to whether or not FaB had a full-bodied experience in mind when making this all-new album. They’re utilizing everything from the tempo of the drums in “Seven Seconds of Summer” to the twisted collision of strings in “A Bullet for Cinderella” to reveal their true professional intentions here, and to me, all of the material included in the tracklist adds up to producing one incredible statement of self. There’s no debating their ability after this; mainstream or not, this is a duo that has captured a sound and the essence of an identity that is entirely theirs and no one else’s. 

There’s nothing particularly compressed in the master mix here, and in “Persuasion,” “Distorted Mirror,” “The Sheltering Sky” and “The Tears of Scarlet Murder,” Fitzsimon and Brogan make a point of embracing the rough edges of their sound in the most melodic of ways I can think of. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that any of it sounds specifically crafted with the goal of making an abrasive harmony somewhat palatable to the occasional noise pop fan, but there’s no arguing whether or not FaB thought a lot about balance when they were recording This Wicked Pantomime. Their unfiltered tonalities are admirable, as is their refusal to conform to synthesized blueprints frequently favored by their rivals. 

Fans of this duo both old and new alike are going to appreciate This Wicked Pantomime’s relentless acts of rebellion for a number of reasons, but for a critic like myself, the greatest attribute this LP has going for it is rooted in the spirit its players bring into the equation. It was obvious to me within a few minutes of hearing “Dancing Partner” for the first time just how important this fifth album is to FaB, and I don’t know that you need to be a professional critic to pick up on the investment they’ve got in songs like “Lost Love of the Pixie Girl” or “Pretty Blue Gun.” It’s clear even from afar, and that’s why I’ve fallen in love with this record. 

Nicole Killian 

About The Author

Nicole Killian

Nicole loves to go cross country skiing, swimming, reading and critiquing books, listening and critiquing music, some culinary arts, pottery, spending time with my daughter, cheesy horror films.

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