REVIEW: Foreign Tongues – ‘Fragile, As Said Before’

foreign tongues fragile as said before

Artist: Foreign Tongues
Album: Fragile, As Said Before
Label: No Sleep
Genre: Indie, Sadness

A catalyst for somber emotive imagery and tenderness felt, the best way to experience Foreign Tongues‘ debut record is by imagining a simple, empty white room, being sure to give this space enough room to bloom. A room to be filled with vast amounts of sound, pain, beauty, demure and efflorescence, as the band masterfully performs to you an album of heartfelt honesty, pain and sensation. “Fill me up, oh you fill me up.”

Fragile, As Said Before may be one of the strongest debuts in recent years, and that is simply because it plays nothing like one. Foreign Tongues have created a dense, atmospheric, and real piece of art that is a collective eleven tracks distinctly providing the listener with different experiences. With all the grandiose atmospheres the band creates, one of the most important aspects of the work lies not with its ambition, but its restraint. With growing layers and textures of sound, it could certainly be easy to get lost in the maddening flushes of sounds. Foreign Tongues tackle this with ease, showcasing restraint by making sure that every sound is there for a purpose, in turn making each sound emitted illuminated.

Beginning with “Fools of Love,” the album starts modestly, catching the listener to a simple groove moments before the entire band comes in. Singer/guitarist Cameron Moretti sings with painful ease, “I’d rather waste this time with you,” in such a defeated delivery that every word spilling into the room is written with polished importance. Guitarists Al Drivas, James Scuderi and Moretti flood the soundscape with bright tones and riffs, as bassist Andy Tamulonis and drummer Joseph Barthelette ground the track with thundering rhythms, keeping the stretching reaches of sound the band emits in check, holding everything together.

This methodology repeats as Moretti brings us through a tour of pain, fragility and sorrow, backed by musicianship that creates consistently new and vast sounds, bringing versatility that shines over recent acts, let alone debut records. “Assembly” continues the upbeat sound of “Fools of Love,” while “Halo” and the crushingly defeating “Hurt You” slow things down, with “Hurt You” featuring a wonderful reprise of “Flourish,” a track from the band’s earlier catalog. Lines like “I can hold your drink while you cry in the restroom, is there nothing new to talk about…do you ever want to hurt yourself, because I hurt you” stab with sharp realism, as the frailty of Fragile, As Said Before begins to unravel.

“Little Doors” is an eerie track that leads into the catchy, imagery-stuffed acoustic track “Sundress,” filled with ambient sound and piano. “Concrete Pillow” may have one of the most surprising synth breaks around the mid-track mark, an experience I wish I could be pleasantly surprised with for the first time all over again. “Placebo” is a slow, brooding track, that again shows the band’s strong ability to practice restraint and create meaningful songs and emotions over flash. “Collect Yourself” has a soaring, heartbreaking chorus, with Moretti claiming, “I just want to feel love tonight, I want to make love with someone who won’t love me ’cause I am incapable of love, and I’m incapable of loving myself.” “Leap Year,” distinctly influenced by The National, brings piano front and center, acting as one of the more interesting delves from expectations of the album.

Closing with “Our Fragile Pain,” Fragile, As Said Before ends modestly, like it begins. Though that modesty should not be taken without weight, as “Our Fragile Pain” brings just as much realism and pain as any of the other tracks, ending the album with simplicity, something surely needed after the heavy and daunting experience of taking in everything Fragile, As Said Before has to offer.

Beautifully and carefully crafted sounds emanate throughout the entire experience of Fragile, As Said Before, as Foreign Tongues have created a dense, and heavy atmosphere for the listener to get lost in. With stellar production from Jay Maas, and even more stellar musicianship from the band, Fragile, As Said Before stands as one of, if not the best release thus far in 2015. Let the band take you through their fragile experiences filled with lush sound and instrumentation, as vocals narrate your journey through realism covered in motifs of love, loss, pain and defeat.

SCORE: 9.5/10
Review written by Drew Caruso – Follow him on Twitter.

Drew Caruso

Drew Caruso is a Bostonian who, when not writing about music and film, spends his time getting lost in New England, reading books, talking about science whether people want to listen or not, and more. To see the thoughts of a scientist by day and a writer by night, follow him on Twitter.
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