After numerous singles and an EP under their belt, alternative rock crew Fencer have finally released their debut full-length. ‘Fencer’ is a journey through alt-rock terrain, taking influence from a variety of styles from Queens of the Stone Age to some early-era Muse. With a balance of gritty rock tunes and beautifully written ballad-like tracks, Fencer’s self-titled debut is an enjoyable listen through and through with catchy hooks and energetic atmosphere.
Throughout the record, Fencer showcases their versatility in style. From the beginning of “Come On, Keep Screaming,” the band displays their grittier side with electric chord progressions and pulsating drum grooves. With an explosion of chemistry, the chorus harnesses an infectious melody accompanied by powerful instrumentation and an outstanding vocal performance. “Couch” and “Velvet Jetski” embody a classic alt-rock approach, with distinctive guitar tones that have a vintage sound as the riffs pummel their way through the tracks. Supporting the electric passages, the bass and drums integrate head-bobbing grooves effortlessly in the compositions. Likewise, “Joseph Courtney,” although not as fast-paced and intense, packs a punch with soaring melodies overtop gritty guitarwork and swinging drum groove.
On the other hand, Fencer also experiments with the more melodic, tranquil side of their music, diving deep into acoustic progressions and airy harmonies. “Fishfriend” ditches all things electric and focuses on developing a beautiful composition that relies on a flow of acoustic guitars and rhythmic snare. It provides ample room to breathe amidst the more rock focused tracks of ‘Fencer,’ allowing the vocals to carry the track with just the bare bones. The closer, “Bad Bet,” continues this acoustic performance, providing the vocals with a catchy melody to follow with beautiful harmonies. As the track progresses, the instrumentation subtly builds as the songwriting becomes more dynamic across each section, eventually exploding into an epic release of tension, giving a powerful conclusion to the record.
However, where Fencer truly thrives is their ability to mix the grittiness with the subdued style. “Sanitarium” seamlessly integrates their use of acoustics and electric guitars while maintaining an atmosphere full of energy and melody. This energy is fully embodied in the final moment of the track, as it erupts into a wall of riffs and driving drum chops. As the album highlight, “You’re Prey” truly shows what the group is capable of. With a rather darker sounding guitar intro, the vocals stay restrained as the intro builds into a more aggressive style. The ebb and flow dynamic of the track perfectly balances the moodier, subdued verses with the energetic and intensely composed chorus with grainy chord progressions and massive vocal melodies.
Despite being a debut, Fencer’s self-titled record is nothing short of excellent. With its dynamics of high-powered riffs and subtle guitar passages, pummeling drum grooves and subdued rhythms, ‘Fencer’ shows the band’s versatility in the alt-rock genre in a grand way. With the debut under their belt, Fencer’s catchy riffs and infectious melodies can only continue to improve from here.