inFictions - Maps Of Revenge And Forgiveness
With their debut album Maps Of Revenge And Forgiveness they have left us with a hugely satisfying 51 minutes of very tasty art rock, and sadly, although the album came out less than a year ago the band is already on hiatus.
The three core members are all in other bands and they are currently without a drummer, and given that according to the blurb on the Bandcamp page they got through 8 skin bashers during the 3 year gestation of this record, it would seem to be an ongoing problem of Spinal Tap proportions!
Veering between epic art rock balladary of a Jeff Buckley-like scale and Mars Volta spikiness, the lush arrangements and soaring vocals put me very much in mind of American band The Tea Club. InFictions main man Ed Cartledge (vocals, guitars) told me he'd never heard of The Tea Club, and given the small waves made by bands of this size that is undoubtedly true, but they definitely seem to share the same muse.
Joining Ed on this musical journey through a wistful but nonetheless modernistic landscape are Gareth Hughes (bass, double bass, synth and mandolin) and Tom Chaffer (guitar), as well as piano, and various string and brass arrangements.
Fusing post-rock idioms with classical flourishes and gorgeous acoustic guitar on Orchards shows that this band are not easily pigeonholed, and nor should they be. Ed has described the band as "post progressive rock" at the same time eschewing "70s pre-punk progressive rock nonsense". And although a debt to modern post-rockers like God Speed You Black Emperor and Explosions In The Sky is obvious, inFictions' highly developed epic scales and sense of melody owe more than a little to their dads' record collections methinks, as much as they might to Radiohead, whether they like it or nay! However there is nothing copyist about this album, it stands out there on its own, shining out like a lighthouse beacon through a dense fog of mediocrity.
On the rare occasion solos are used they very short and to the point as on The Silence Of The Sea where they are used simply as a counterpoint to the surging melody that all but jumps out of the speakers at you. This thing builds and builds and crashes, perfectly encapsulating the title and subject matter.
The amount of care that has been put into the accompanying artwork indicates that an awful lot of hard work and effort has gone into this project. We have a booklet with ten individually commissioned pieces to go with each track, and a button badge, all contained within an individually stickered cardboard box. The artwork is recreated on their classy website, where you will also find the thoughtful lyrics.
It would be a shame if the current band hiatus* becomes permanent as I consider that inFictions are a bit of a find amongst all the tame and predictable fare one has to wade through in the musical backwater that is modern prog rock. Hopefully we will hear more of the band in the future.
* Checking the Facebook page below reveals that there is a track being recorded as we speak, so good news, then!
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This Road Leads to a Village of Informers (3:48)
Frozen River (4:49)
1st Intersection (5:49)
Line Drawings (5:06)
Laughter Track (4:02)
The Silence of the Sea (6:10)
The Cell (4:42)
2nd Intersection (1:34)
The Ghost of Some Old Sin (4:57)
Total running time 51:23
As above...oh no, the drummer exploded!