Rhythm Radar

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Radar Reviews: Fynbos – ‘The Only One’

While the Indian Alternative Rock and Lo-Fi Indie Pop singer songwriter Fynbos was living deep in the heart of India, his ears were drawn to the 90’s Brit-Pop movement that housed successful groups like Oasis, Blur, Pulp and Massive Attack, with some of his personally cited influences being the likes of Travis and Doves.

He moved to the UK at the age of 18 to pursue musical interests that were wildly different to the authentic, exotic traditional Sitar music that his family were used to hearing. Although the circumstances of life got in the way, Fynbos has taken a ‘Second Time Lucky’ approach to his new single ‘The Only One’, where he mirrors the feelings of distance that we have all been feeling throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

While the market for ‘Lockdown Albums’ has been saturated in the last eighteen months, it is thankful that Fynbos has made good on his interesting potential on his new release in the role of an outsider peering into the wildly chaotic Brit-Pop days.

With some nods towards more alternative rock outfits like Arcade Fire and The War On Drugs on ‘The Only One’, Fynbos uses the lyrics of the piece to express how he has felt a sensation of yearning and separation from loved ones and the wilder world at large.

As a result, this new entry into Fynbos’ young discography has an air of intimacy about it, with fuzzy guitar riffs and warm lo-fi melodies that echo the sentiments of New York-based retro inspired rock artists like JW Francis. The guitar melodies are more plodding and slower than usual for a track dipping its toes into the modern indie rock market, but they feel thoughtful and crafted because they evoke feelings of melancholy and fantasy.

There’s enough of a conventional pop element to the tune, in terms of its structure and the long vocal harmonies that Fynbos backs himself up with, for it to feel melodic. The production is intimate and cerebral however, and it feels like a welcome change of pace overall.

While harnessing soft guitar beats and warm guitar-based instrumentation that should appeal to both fans of lo-fi radio stations on YouTube, as well as fans of international crossover alt-folk stars like Sigur Ros and Pela, he’s also gone for a soothing template overall.

His vocals sound like they are truly calling out for something that feels unreachable or hard to attain, and he underscores these key emotions with some subdued bass guitar riffs and some restrained drum melodies that invokes a feeling of longing in those who listen to his music.

It would certainly be interesting, then, to hear how his Indian background comes into his songwriting and his own expression, which is sadly not touched upon in much depth here. That said, the story behind the artist is one with plenty of promise and there’s enough variety to the instrumentation that he does use to get his emotive core across nicely.

While the vocals may be lacking a little polish and the track doesn’t really contain that one killer lyric to make it feel more memorable, Fynbos shows some clear influences and places a large emphasis on how the song makes you feel, as a listener, to solid effect.

‘The Only One’ should appeal to a good crowd of listeners, as it feels gentle and relaxed, yet a little intimate and a bit haunting in delivery at times too. It should be incredibly fascinating to see how Fynbos evolves as an artist in the future. For now, we’re left with some solid lo-fi rock that does the trick reasonably well.

Words by Jacob Braybrooke

For fans of Arcade Fire, The Divine Comedy, and The Flaming Lips, you can find ‘The Only One’ and Fynbos via the links below:

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