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Too Broken To Break
Artist: Fono
Label: H5D records / Fono
Length: 11 tracks / 45 minutes 
 
This is the first full-length release that Fono have made this century, their debut Goesaroundcomesaround hailing from 1999, and an EP they made more recently being lost when the studio they were using burnt down. Originally from Milton Keynes in the UK, they relocated to San Diego a while ago and have been building a reputation from supporting the likes of the Goo Go Dolls and Robert Plant.
 
The quartet has plenty of talent, with Kerrang! magazine voting them best unsigned band, reaching finalist stage in the Billboard Indie World Series, and garnering a host of name-checks. It is easy to see why they have been selected as soundtrack material, as their music has an urgency and immediacy that connect. 
 
Starting brightly, this disc shows plenty of energy on “Dangerous” and the best track, “Angels Eyes.” With its irresistible riff, this piece is the daughter of early live U2 (“I Will Follow”) and The Cult (“She Sells Sanctuary”). The Oasis-influenced “Still Love?” and the Kato-like “On the Line” keep up the style, which features an in-your-face guitar and a potent snare. Although Gibson are credited in the liner, the guitar has a highly resonant, trebly Telecaster sound.
 
My only complaint at this time would be that the power of “Angels Eyes” is wasted on lyrics such as:

            end a message in the sky / No more truth and no more lies
            So we can see the world tonight through angels’ eyes

The lyrics generally fit well with the tunes in an impressionistic way, but I hoped that they had a little more to say.
 
By the time that “Car Crash” has its turn, an awkward familiarity starts to set in. Just as you might start to look for some variety, very little appears. To make it worse, some of these middle tracks sound like demos that they may have made while trying to come up with “Angels Eyes,” and once the comparisons lodge in your mind, the later songs even take away from the better ones by association. So the title track – apparently a comment on the state of the music industry – while fine as a single song, takes on a dull patina within the set. Fortunately, “Sunlight Silence,” the fine “Silhouette” and particularly “January Rose” add some of the freshness needed at the very end of the disc.
 
I have no doubt that the band is superb live, and could deliver an entertaining, high energy set. The individual tracks have an immense sound, thanks largely to a brilliantly clear mix from Chris Sheldon (Foo Fighters, Radiohead), but there must be some light and shade. It might be a very neat trick, but they still come across as a one-trick pony. 
 
Derek Walker


 

 
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