Oakland thrash pop duo Le Fomo return with nine tracks of gender expansive, dance inducing tunes that they call Swallow Me Whole. From needle drop to lift this is an album brimming with rhythm and power. Their funky, trip inducing beats take inspiration from far and wide and come together to create their distinctive sound, somewhere in the untrodden ground between Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Scissor Sisters.
The tone is set with opener Nip On The Dancefloor, showcasing the swaggering instrumentals that become so familiar by the end of the record. These sounds which stir up uncontrollable desire to move with the rhythms are ever present through the opening few tracks, but with such variety in them that they keep you entranced.
Such testament is it to the vocals that they are not lost within the wall of sound that amplifies itself from the speakers, quite the opposite in fact. No matter how hypnotic the beats become, the power of voice is always there at the forefront battling for your attention and winning.
Not all of the tracks on Swallow Me Whole are quite as glittery as the opening run would lead you to believe, though. Tiny Anchor displays are mellower, floaty vibe with echoing base becoming more prevalent. Heedless Velvet Moonshine Rocket on the other hand shows their more experimental side, with minimal vocals and a sci-fi-esque instrumental track becoming the focus. However, through these tracks they still keep the same light and frivolous mood, but just show hints of possible darkness on the horizon.
One element it can be easy to overlook with so much going on in the sound is the actual content in these songs. So preoccupied can you become with the glamour of the noise that you would, in fact, miss out on the lyrics, which are deceptively deep. Shown off best in the title track, Ess and Kai write of love and fear and everything else in the human experience. Pleading “Won’t you swallow me whole, so I can sing to your guts, fill your tenderest parts, and rub up on your heart”, they show this isn’t just a joyous pop album, but an outpouring of emotion camouflaged in pop clothing.
On the whole, Swallow Me Whole feels like much more than a thrash pop album, this feels more like a piece of art. Abstract at times, as if it is trying to work out where it belongs, it toys with being an album full of pop bangers, but always strays away to somewhere more deep, and much more interesting. This might just be a gamechanger…