The Fontaine Classic is a relatively new duo from Portland, Oregon who has out a remarkable debut LP, Latest Faith. Released in two halves of five songs, we could first listen to the first part last year, and only this week we were introduced to the second one.
There are some songs that are made to be opening tracks; “Tourist” is definitely one of them. Gloomy, distant and slightly dark, it stays steady in its intensity throughout the whole time, giving only quick emotional breaks with thuds and dramatic violins. But once it finishes, the band knows how to cheer it up enough to keep the same oppressive style in the short title-track. On the B-side of the LP, although they continue the low and somber spirit, they are quite different. In this second half you will find first an instrumental opening track, which works as a good introduction to mark the separation from the first one. The songs are longer, such as “Grassy Dirty”, which has a guiding guitar that can both draw textures and produce shuddering moments. Throughout the whole record, the presence of the drums is generally at the back, sometimes even absent as in most of the song “Oldest of Everyone”, but it always brings the exact amount of energy to fit into the music and create a well-organized balance. It is true though, that the latter part of the album is more sluggish and doesn’t flow as well as the first one. Not to mention that the vocals -which had a unique style keeping a perfect equilibrium between subtleness, smoothness and melancholy with a dose of honesty- suddenly change to a clear Thom Yorkish style.
The ending track, “Genius”, is quite disappointing for everything that precedes it, as it breaks the atmosphere and changes it to a more frenetic one. Still, this is just a minor personal detail on the tracklist order that can be forgotten once you start listening to Latest Faith again. Because you should know this: you will want to listen to Latest Faith again. At its best, you will find unperturbed vocals, a dynamicity between the faintly rhythmic drums and the neat guitar, and decorative violins and saxophones which beautify the melodies. Overall, this is good start for a new band like The Fontaine Mountain who tempts you to sink into their attractive gloomy atmosphere and it’s easy to accept their invitation gratefully.