Diving into pools of darkness, Famous offer up raw diamonds of creativity.
Words: Alexandra Dominica | Photo: James Ogram
Catapulted far above the stratosphere, deep into the nebula of nascent neurosis come hurling the idiosyncratic Famous with their latest EP The Valley. The first track Stars is a deep dive into a fragmented consciousness, waving goodbye to “Mom and Dad” we’re freefalling into their vortex. Giving us delicious time-warped guitars and Jack Merrett’s fantastic internal mumbling monologue, we know it’s a maelstrom of madness that is about to ensue. Stars is the soundtrack to modern youth, dealing with life’s never-ending curveballs and the grossly mundane, amidst the current worldwide crises. Famous are taking you for a ride down the psychodrama spiral to the anthemic, cathartic adventure that their opus inhabits, deep within a calamitously chaotic neocortex.
Rocket-fuelled by their label untitled recs, the trio have carved a path for themselves that makes them differ from the typical ‘post-punk, art student band’ scene mooching about the South London circuit – their sound is far more nuanced and complex to put a simple label on. Nice While It Lasted drives you into a frenzied hyperspeed of guitars and drums that feels like a viscerally violent electromagnetic aural experience, akin to something from Blade Runner or TRON. The pounding bass and interstellar cacophony of noises drive this track to the edge of reality with Merrett’s haunting interjections “Please try not to die.” Relatable.
We then come down to earth to The Valley. Somewhat of a reprieve and being the EP’s namesake, an echo from The Bible’s Psalm 23: “I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Here, right through to the very end, Merrett’s ‘psychovalley’ is all around us. This gentle calm becomes all the more dark and ominous as Merrett sniffles “I’m about…I’m about to blow my brains out” and then “I’m about to take a walk in the valley where you came from.” With the current state of affairs, it is no surprise that artists find themselves often dancing with the idea of death, mentally on the precipice of total annihilation. Merrett is utterly self aware throughout and ready to bare his mind to the world, with the door forever ajar with an accompanied welcome mat.
Diving into these pools of darkness often bring forth rough diamonds of creativity, one such being Modern Times, a sublime melodious mania that explores celestial and existential themes. Going from sustained monotone to wild flailing screams, we go from “fucking in a car” to “shooting heroin,” to “spending better times with (my) parents”. It’s epic, it’s honest, it’s conceptually the sound of raw unfiltered genius.
The Beatles is the final closing track. What can only be described as a masterpiece of biblically fiery proportions, it is a crescendo that is designed to leave us wanting more. Accompanied with stunning animated visuals by Thomas Harrington Rawle, it’s a 3D cinematic experience that encapsulates the Kafka-esque kaleidoscope of Famous‘ alternate dimension. The core of the track revolves around the rhapsodic piano coincided with the sonorance of Merrett’s effortless soliloquy that pours out of him like a tsunami. Marrying indie, disco, post-punk and art-rock, they’ve managed to take the genres and push them to new extremes. Famous are surfing the musical barrels in a cultural tidal wave of evolutionary sounds – and it appears that the nation is just about to be flooded.