Father Figuer, 'F F' | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Father Figuer, 'F F'


Published October 19, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

Father Figuer, F F - COURTESY
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  • Father Figuer, F F

(Self-released, digital)

Father Figuer are one of the most interesting Burlington bands of recent years. Since their 2020 debut, Transitions, they've stabilized as a power trio of unusual range. Their second LP, Jack of All Fruits, was an ocean of unpredictable sounds, full of complex arrangements and atmospheres that tested the boundaries of guitar rock. Damn tasty stuff, in other words.

Where Father Figuer's last project was a dreamlike exploration of new horizons, their latest effort, F F, is a tightly focused EP. A meditation on trauma and healing, even the lushest grooves here have hard, sharp edges.

The project is another collaboration with engineer Miles Foy, who aims only to accurately document the band's warm, unvarnished live sound. The core of that sound is the songwriting of guitarist and vocalist Erin White, who works solo as Wintre. Her vocals are strong, sometimes soaring but often on the periphery of the mix, deployed like another instrumental texture.

Father Figuer's music is anchored by the understated bass work of David Roche, and one of its strongest assets is the dynamic drumming of Elise Albertini. Never flashy, her subtle chops can take this band anywhere it chooses to go, from roars to whispers. As it happens, F F's four tracks are a wild ride.

Opener "Body" starts with soothing, almost classical guitar work but quickly veers into an urgent swell of distortion and voices. It's a short, jarring start to Father Figuer's bleakest project to date — which is not to say the music is harsh. "Open Season" is quite lovely, building to a thrashy rock plateau before the vocals come in.

"Who Remains" unfolds the emotional core of the project. "My theory is something cares to haunt me," White sings, but deciphering precisely what went down is left to the listener. As raw and intimate as this set is, the songwriting is also deliberately opaque, rendered in broken shards.

The clearest glimpse given is the harrowing final cut, "Muzzle." It's a story of the unforeseeable heartbreaks that emerge in the aftermath of abuse. When such revelations surface, people often refuse to process them at all, leaving survivors in limbo. "Should I keep on hiding while you get to be?" White asks, later noting, "I lost my family when you put your muzzle around me."

The song is cathartic but also brutally honest, ending with her decision to "package up my pain" for the benefit of others too afraid to engage with reality: "Let me refrain from the things that I think, a nod, a smile, hand on my drink."

So as the curtains go down and the guitars fade out, there is no solace for the listener, no tidy moralizing. That would only be another betrayal. For longtime fans of the band, however, F F is something of a promise fulfilled. This potent EP proves Father Figuer are a trio of vast skill, ready to challenge and reward their audience in equal measure.

F F debuts on all major streaming platforms this Friday, October 21. Father Figuer play a release show at the Venetian Soda Lounge in Burlington on Saturday, October 22.