Fear of Men
★★★★ (out of 5 stars)
The full-length debut from this fresh U.K. band comes on soft but leaves an indelible footprint with its evocative nuance. These indie-pop lullabies sail without effort, but exude intrigue. Their pure, starlit melodies are beset from above by dark clouds and from below by subversive sentiment, as if under quiet, internal siege. The result is an alluring dream world, at once twinkling and shadowy. Steeped in English restraint, Fear of Men’s crestfallen sound adopts shoegaze textures with a light hand and dream-pop melodies with unmistakable sobriety. Highlights include the galloping elegance of “Tephra,” the cresting corrosion of “America” and the shimmering jangles of “Luna” and “Waterfall.” Even without flash or insistence, this beckoning album is an absorbing pop wonder.