TRACK REVIEW: Fond Han - New Alright

Kelly Kirwan

New Jersey-based group Fond Han is awash in crinkling, blue-feeling indie rock. A certain static coats their guitar riffs as world-weary vocals waft through, and facets of punk and prog deliver a rough touch that doesn't aggravate. Fond Han has a taste for the mismatched rhythms so often associated with math rock, and their songs have no idle space; they're filled to the brim and overflowing with fuzzy edges. Their latest single, "New Alright," naturally follows suit.

The track opens with tangy guitar strums and a nasally pitch that twists and bends towards the end of its note, with just a small dose of distortion, as is Fond Han's style. The tension builds over its three-minute span, the vocals morphing into an angst-riddled, airy shout as the instruments swell and then topple over one another. There's a guitar skittering out, a quick pattering of drums, and a moment of sonic anarchy that grips us, and our emotions spike with feelings of earnest desperation, a kind of riot against everyday ennui. The lyrics are often shrouded by the melody, which crackles with the white-noise intensity of a shoddy phone line—an element which very much jives with their haywire style.

"New Alright" offers a sullen sort of catharsis, a rallying cry for nonconformity that manages to bypass the pitfall of feeling contrived. But then again, this is a band that's taken up the genre labels of "rink donk" and "shark doom," so convention has never been their benchmark. That's a good thing for anyone who gets the chance to listen.