Fin Fang Foom
Fin Fang Foom formed in Jacksonville, Florida, over a decade ago. After early incarnations of the band with drummers Eric Puestow and Peter Enriquez, Michael Glass joined Michael Triplett and Eddie Sanchez to form the one that would persist until Cynthia Main joined this year. Puestow left the band for college, but Enriquez suddenly passed away in an automobile accident, marking the first (but unfortunately not last) occasion when the Foom would have to overcome disaster. The band moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 1998 and soon became synonymous with the local scene, gigging incessantly and establishing themselves as local fixtures. A pair of LPs for Lovitt Records, 2001’s Texture, Structure, and the Condition of Moods and 2003’s With the Gift Comes the Curse, found the band streamlining and amplifying upon their math-rock/post-rock sound, and the Foom became popular enough to warrant their first European tour. That was the gift. Then came the curse. In 2004, Triplett was diagnosed with spinal meningitis. He spent several months in the hospital, and several more recuperating in Florida. No one would’ve blamed the Foom for throwing in the towel. But, in typically cavalier spirit, they didn’t, and Triplett returned to North Carolina in 2005 to complete the Native Tongue EP, out now on Japan’s Stiff Slack records. A Japanese tour to promote the EP will ensue. Given the circumstances of its creation, it’s no surprise that Native Tongue is frankly triumphant: Fin Fang Foom’s glacial gloom is moodier and grander than ever, thanks in no small part to the brooding strokes of cello that new member Cynthia Main threads through Michael Triplett’s driving guitar themes, Eddie Sanchez’s booming bass, twinkling pianos and overcast vocals, and Michael Glass’s surgically precise percussion. The band’s time-honed dynamic is manifest on Native Tongue, which finds them striking a delicate balance between pensive delicacy and raw power. The adversity that they’ve hurdled over the years is writ large in their modern sound, which is uniformly bleak, but always seems to portend redemption around the corner.