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Fright Years’ “Evil” is the anthemic and emotive soundtrack to the intricacies of modern dating

26 January 2024, 10:00 | Written by Cassidy Sollazzo

On their first release following a breakout year in 2023, Edinburgh quad Fright Years lean into their own rendition of Tumblr rock, building sonic and lyrical tension to explore romantic power imbalances.

Some songs make you feel like you’re in a movie. It’s a commonly inexplicable feeling, whether it's how the sound engulfs you, the energy of the vocals, or the way the lyrics happen to relate to your exact situation - there are just some songs that give off that walk-through-the-forest-with-your-hood-up, look-out-a-rainy-window type of main character energy. Fright Years garner that same all-consuming feeling on their latest single, the slow burn epic “Evil".

Following in the footsteps of many great rock groups that have come before them (Talking Heads, Pink Floyd), Fright Years met at art school. That influence is clear in their music, with earlier singles like “Another Life” and “Every Weekend” utilizing pop synth patterns mixed with bright guitar melodies. Now, Fright Years are firmly committed to their version of alt-rock, with “Evil” solidifying its sound: arena-ready ballads mixed with an overflow of shoegaze-adjacent guitar and synth.

“Evil” opens with tight guitar and kit, with lead singer Jules’ reverb-heavy vocals taking the lead. The instrumentation builds as the track enters its first chorus, with fuzzed and distorted guitars creating an intensity that becomes the song’s driving force. Anthemic synths and cymbal-heavy drums add another layer to the climbing energy. Entering the second verse, Fright Years play with tension through sonic highs and lows; the overwhelming crunch of the guitar from the chorus turns into complimentary melodies glittered between lyrics. The delay and reverb on the guitar create an almost faraway sound to the riffs, evoking “Sex”-era The 1975 with that quintessential 2010s indie rock sound shining through.

Jules’ vocal delivery feels like an overflow of emotions; the final chorus in conjunction with the continued build-and-release tension of the instrumentation makes it the track’s climactic peak. What starts as a crisp, basic rock backing gives way to thick synths, warped distortion, and swirling guitar melodies that play in tandem with the fervent lyrics. “Evil” has the transporting quality of a song you want to blast in your car and while flying down an empty road—a cathartic release of pent-up energy from trying to keep a hard exterior.

“Evil” explores one side of a relationship, the side of the person wanting connection, but always wanting the other person to need them more. The band says, “‘Evil’ is our indie rom-com. It's about trying to make someone fall in love with you and maintaining power in the dating stage, but in the end you can't control your own feelings. Think Andie in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” The scream-along-worthy chorus explodes with the protagonist’s plan of attack: “You'll be walking me home / I'll do the talking ‘till I know / That it's hit you (oh no) / Until I kiss you (you won't) / Sleep good when I'm gone / I want you lying by the phone / say 'I miss you, you know' / I'll say I miss you (I won't).” The disjointed-yet-smooth phrasing adds spontaneity to the purposefully contradicting vocals.

The second verse shows cracks in the subject’s cool exterior: “Even break a smile at your call / You could tell me you're leaving and I swear that I wouldn't feel a thing at all / Cause nothing can hurt me / When I hold the cards.” Jules’ vocals are gut wrenching, fully displaying the torn feelings of wanting to control the situation but feeling yourself falling for someone; it’s enough to give listeners a rush of goosebumps by the end of the track.

On “Evil,” Fright Years deliver an emotionally and sonically deep epic fit to soundtrack your next

“Evil” is out now. Find Fright Years on Instagram.

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