Fazerdaze / Original photo by Joey Clough.
Her first release in over five years, Fazerdaze’s newest EP, Break!, revels in a cathartic energy, channelling 90’s fuzzy guitars, strokes-esque vocal distortion and dreamy soundscapes.
Break! was recorded in Auckland during a three month lockdown, in which Fazerdaze (AKA Amelia Murray) found herself living in solitude for the first time after the break up of a nine year relationship. Discussing the emotional impetus behind the material, she said, “It’s everything I wasn’t allowing myself to feel over the past few years; angry, disappointed, cynical, exhausted and over it." The tracks on break reflect this emotional release and self realisation, with collected, nonchalant vocals performed amidst bouts of fuzzy, guitar driven angst.
Title track ‘Break!’ propels you right to the heart of the EP’s world, opening with the lines, “Low key loser/A stranger to herself”.’ Alongside a raw, 90’s inspired fuzzy guitar lead, Amelia sings in a deadpan manner, “You just want to live, I’m just gonna break”. In contrast to the work of Morningside, ‘Break!’ sets a different tone through the use of sharper, distorted sounding vocals and a thicker guitar sound.
For those familiar with the earlier work of Fazerdaze, the second track ‘Winter’ feels like unfamiliar and exciting new ground. Veering away from the use of driving guitars, dominant in a large portion of Amelia’s works, ‘Winter’ begins with a lo-fi drum beat and a mellow piano lead. Amelia’s reverb laden vocals cluster into a chorus of divine vocal harmonies, smoothing the edge off the pointed and personal lyrical content.
‘Thick Of The Honey’ takes a disparate turn with an uptempo drum track beat and stern sounding guitar lead. The escalating vocal line in the chorus adds a dreamy touch to the otherwise suspenseful track.
On the next track ‘Come Apart’, a Strokes-esque, vocal distortion adds a gritter edge to Amelia’s signature, vocal reverb. The raw, acoustic, guitar lead at the beginning is mixed in with the addition of a fuzzy electric one, combining gritty indie rock with nineties shoegaze tones.
Sharp, distorted vocals bring in the next track ‘Overthink It’, alongside minimal drums and a distorted, 90’s-esque guitar. The drums thicken out in the chorus, while Amelia recites the lines, “I’m not that impressed, You’re just tryna get ahead”, in a nonchalant, straightforward manner.
The sixth and final track ‘Flood Into’, provides a nostalgia inducing, shoegaze sound, balancing raw, grunge tones with ethereal instrumentation. In true Fazerdaze fashion, the song provides the perfect mix of grit and glamour with fuzzy layered guitar and spacey vocals.
Through the abundance of fuzzy guitars and the return of the reverbed vocals, Amelia carries some of her most distinct musical sounds over from Morningside but this time, imbuing them with a rawer edge. The result is her most experimental work yet, with spoken sequences, lo-fi indie beats and sharp, distorted vocals, while still managing to provide listeners with her unique musical sound, treasured by so many fans. The Fazerdaze-shaped hole in music, left for so long, has most certainly been filled with this recent release.