A rainy Melbourne day was when I decided to ‘meet’ Future Static‘s Fatalist, leaping over COVID-19 logistical hurdles to get to be alone and focused in my space enough to do so. Two years since the release of the Melbourne band’s debut EP Want, I was keen to see what the collective were bringing to the world.
EP-opener “Growth” immediately created a cold and isolated space, and its notes wafted by me and through me. “Growth”, I found you gentle and hard to grasp at times and at others you felt sharp. Building in strength, a heartache grows fuller and louder as the song continues.
With delicate wonderings courtesy of piano, there’s dusky percussive strikes before a guitar-driven bleed inspires an empathetic “OUCH” and pours indiscriminately over the track. Higher reaching and yearning, it comes across as a call to be heard… even with no words spoken.
And then in a flash it all is sucked inward again, leaving behind just a piano and remaining reverberations. I wondered if it was an apologetic metaphorical ‘tucking in’ of feelings that seemed too big for the world at large, or if that momentary purging blast was enough of a release. Perhaps the titular growth happened, and calm was restored after the struggle.
Darting and driving, the energy of “Choke” propels us forward further, deep into a veiled look at internal workings. Literally asking “Is anybody out there feeling just the way I do?” outward to the abyss, it’s easy to feel the unseen casings that surround the protagonist (much like the EP’s artwork). I expect that those silent messages are left unresponded to. Ideas rain down as echoing voices in the background, before the chorus rattles those casings in frustration and “enough”-ness.
There’s a “For better or for worse, this is me” vibe to “Choke”; ownership of the failures and flaws, as hard as that might be, including this propensity to self-sabotage. Reflective at the bridge, there’s a satisfying land at a turning point before the casings have the shit kicked out of them with brutal hair-raising roars and riffs.
It’s again satisfying (palpably so) with the return of the chorus and the desire to let go of things, and there’s no turning back from what’s been recognised and observed. THIS is growth too.
With energy kept high, “Dead End” bends and drags into the early hours of the day where the self-sabotage continues. In a brawl between self and self, the punches fly and a sly inner manipulator sharpens its claws and fangs. A rush of syllables from vocalist Bri Marsh comes like a gasp from a throat with hands wrapped around it.
A soaring chorus belies the sense of impossibility, but comes coupled with tightened fists that decide to confrontationally take this battle on. The refusal to back down is amplified by razor sharp guitar pinches, djenty thuds, and a goosebump-worthy cry of “Hope I’m not too far gone”.
Tears fall in a moment of collapse, where the fight has left nothing in the reserves. Swirling melodic guitar and vulnerable vocals course through the body like an invitation to step into this suit of surrender along with Future Static. It’s a moving moment that feels unquestionably authentic in what’s being shared. Rhythmic stutters of ethereal tones project a flickering internal light that’s failing under struggle.
Instrumental breadth and tension soon reveals glimmers of life, and a strength that’s present. The “I’m here, flawed or otherwise” presence is palpable, as is the rush of fire that’s soon struck, and the blistering rage that surfaces. Bassy lows and drum rumblings take on an undercurrent of undeniable strength.
Punchy and stuttery, there’s clearly life left here yet as “Never Miss” continues Fatalist. The backdrop is set for an unfolding story to be told with authority. Sheets of sound rain down in this assertive backward glance that comes with fire at its edges. The backing vocals and blunt riffs add to a confrontational vibe.
Pared back to bass and vocals and punched home, it’s an all-out open flame intended to burn the antagonist. Erratic and uncontrolled, it’s a moment of openness and honesty coming. Stomping and shrugging off the previously tight leash, arcs of honesty run high above at the bridge. In my mind, it all comes across like someone sweetly loading a gun; nonchalant unleashing of barbs and decisive slicing of connections are all part of this.
The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it “Adaptive Manipulator” proves thick, heavy, and dense. The track comes stomping before confidently presenting itself, akin to a confident pro-wrestler greeting its crowd. Barrelling and grooving, the short sonic slice is a wild one that makes its presence known.
“The Fatalist” is more more anthemic from the start, with some of the facade of strength we’ve heard previously pared back to a more emotive, defenseless honesty. Heart on sleeve, the song serves as a statement. “I’m out here alone and I’m running out of friends to lose” cuts painfully, as does the vulnerability of voice. I see a throbbing head full of past mistakes and this is amplified by bass-laden confusion.
A circling around of the selves that are at war, they suspiciously eye each other off and wonder if resolution is possible. Stark and surrendered, “The Fatalist”‘s contrasting build into a precipice dive via the chorus is powerful. There’s a story of defeat here that’s being shared with sparkles running through it.
We’re pulled into the moment; pulled into the late night turning point of survival that’s smashed into the heart of the listener with a strength of life-force that abates quivering lips and a person tempted to take actions that can’t be undone. The sense of relief mixes in with “What might happen next time?” and a hope that their anchor and saviour will exist in the future.
And I’m exhausted – satisfyingly so – after the effort of collapse and getting back up again that seemed to be repeat. Fatalist is a survival story spanning over 19 minutes, with many faces. The facets and angles are brilliantly represented by Future Static, showcasing the band’s ability to share face-tearing aggression, brick-walled defenses, or naked honesty. There’s a lot here – gifts delivered in future listens – and I am pleasantly surprised at all that unfolded in Fatalist.
Massive potential and talent lives here, as well as admirable honesty, and it was a tragic and beautiful journey to be on with the band. I can’t help feeling like Fatalist serves as a time capsule for traversing difficulty, and it resonates powerfully in this vein. The metaphorical stones of life are courageously faced, turned over and explored, regardless of what surprises lie beneath them.
Fatalist releases tomorrow (3rd April). Future Static are: Brianna Marsh, Ryan Qualizza, Kira Neil, Jack Smith and Jackson Trudel.
Just as is shared thematically, I feel like there's some confines of safety around the EP, and there's a whole lot more that Future Static are capable of. A leap forward from 'Want', this is just the beginning of a skyward trajectory.
Strong, captivating, emotionally moving, meaningful themes, and an impressive showcase of the band's capabilities.