Experimental quartet Fossa released their debut EP, Sea of Skies, earlier this month, a concept offering as much a four individual tracks. From lead single Five Days, a song telling of falling for someone in, tellingly, five days, the story continues through the “life cycle” of the relationship to wind up with a song depicting the break-up of the relationship. Despite this being a debut release, there’s an expertise displayed in the tracks that displays each members’ lengthy history in the world of music.
Cymbal heavy, the opening to melancholy title track Sea Of Trees falls at the midpoint of Everything Everything and Alt-J, with a strong lean towards the experimental edge in the nature of homemade instruments and sparse and eclectic sound. Ever changing and frequently surprising music accompanies controlled vocals and shockingly lengthy notes. Even as the track reaches a hectic climax, there’s a subdued sound to the music that keeps the chaos in check.
Rolling straight into Five Days, the electronic edge brought in by Will Dunning’s skill is apparent and pairs well with soldiering, consistent vocals which drive the track. Though Louis Shadwick’s voice takes the forefront of the track, there’s the same depth and intricacy to the music as with the EP’s opener. Culminating in the mesmerising and hypnotic refrain, “you gotta be mine”, there’s a sense of delayed urgency to the music that makes the track the stand out it is.
The dreamy sound of Butterfly is a notable but temporary thing, intermittently shifting from the bare sound to a distorted, grungey and almost psychedelic one, showing off the variety of what Fossa can accomplish. Piano dominant and once again laced with variety, the melancholy returns in closing Swan Song to mirror the fragile vocal work. At over six minutes, this epic seems a very appropriate way to close a record so fond of disregarding any unwritten rules – and that’s not a criticism.
Both delicate and bold, Fossa have forged and EP that sits as one of the most accomplished debuts of the year – listen to Five Days below.