The Fun Years tune into a sobering radio station where gently oscillating drones are fed through to the listener over a pensive, long wave.
There aren’t any instantaneous, kicking drums or overdriven power chords, although the long drone does pick up some grit along the way. Instead, the duo provide a record as smooth as untouched water; morphing music still capable of keeping its hard, inner shell of drone intact. Electronics segue lightly, ensuring smooth transitions and an album best listened to in one sitting.
The single long drone continues on, lighting up the side of ‘Trash Can Lava Flow’, where the music continues to be pensive, thoughtful…the lighter, fun side has been temporarily replaced with an engaging drone and a serious core. A Heart to Heart About Our Values is constantly changing, but it does so in places unclear. You’re never sure just when that transition happened, but it did happen, because we ended up in another place. It’s a more restrained and constricted sound, of that there is no doubt. But this gives the music a focal point – an intense one – and a focus that was perhaps lacking beforehand.
The more thoughtful sound encourages a sedate train of thought, and the music slides along, progressing without a single distraction to pollute the overall mix. Dynamics shift and gain traction; the sound opens up and then closes in on itself, but the underlying drone is still there, sitting heavily on the music like an endless, problematic struggle on the mind. That long drone-line might not be entirely benevolent, either.
This is quite a change, and a welcome one. The stillness within has brought to the fore the duo’s penchant for musical variety as 2017’s Heroes Of The Second Story Walk-Up was completely different, both stylistically and thematically. Values are in decline throughout much of the world. Nations are failing; music isn’t. (James Catchpole)