Posted: by The Editor
Hailing from Ghent, Belgium, Feverchild is one of a new crop of emo bands whose ‘90s touchstones aren’t the warm, jazz-inspired tones of American Football or the math rock freak outs of Cap’n Jazz, preferring to channel the primal quiet-loud bite of groups like Chamberlain, Elliott, or Texas Is the Reason—bands that formed from the ashes of defunct hardcore acts. Perhaps not coincidentally, many of these new emo bands also act as the softer counterparts to members’ heavier projects. In Feverchild’s case, members of Minded Fury, Animal Club, and Force coalesced in 2020 to write and record what would become their debut self-titled EP, out the following year.
Feverchild was an arresting first effort because it was clearly grounded in post-hardcore and punk while still existing wholly in the realm of emo; at their best, Feverchild’s songs could channel the frenzy of hardcore without losing the earnestness of indie rock. With Altering a Memory, everything is dialed up; when they’re heavy they’re punishing, and when they’re quiet they’re whispering.
Altering a Memory, which comes on the heels of a two-song single last year (repurposed into the closing duo here), expands on the template Feverchild set. The record begins with the chilly instrumental track “Intro” before really kicking into gear with “City of Flowers.” That song and the title track that follows show off Feverchild’s command of rapid dynamic shifts; both have some of the heaviest guitar work the band’s ever laid down before the band pulls back and lets the songs breathe. “Altering a Memory,” in particular, features some of the band’s best riffs; the interlocking guitars under the first verse are forceful and the arpeggiated chorus line sparkles like broken glass. It’s a more muscular update on what made “Stargazing” the highlight of Feverchild.
Single “Coming Down” inverts the formula, building from soft, gleaming verses to a punchy, driving hook; it’s an effective flip, and it’s one of the best songs on the record. The other departure is “Eva,” which appears right before the tracks from the 2022 single in the tracklist; an acoustic dirge, it throbs with a sense of finality. It shows that Feverchild don’t need to rely on crescendos for emotional release, but it also feels like a clear-cut album closer, and when the chiming bells that open “Witching Hour” pipe up after, it seems jarring.
With the inclusion of that song and its B-side “You Know I Can’t,” and the brief instrumental opener, Altering a Memory does feel somewhat slight, and perhaps a little bit disjointed. Admittedly, though, it’s better than being overstuffed with filler, and in emo conciseness can be a virtue. Either way, Altering a Memory is a more than worthy addition to Feverchild’s mercilessly short catalog, and it’s more evidence that they’re one of the best bands in their lane. Like some of their labelmates, Feverchild evoke an era of emo while never retreading old ground. And in their recreation of the past, they point toward a beautiful future.
Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal
Altering a Memory is out now on Sunday Drive.
Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison
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