Fust takes the melancholic and the downtrodden moments of everyday life and turns them into sublimely calm country-flavored ballads.
Currently based out of Durham, NC, Fust is made up of Aaron Dowdy and John Wallace on guitar and vocals, Frank Meadows on bass, piano and vocals, Justin Morris on pedal steel and Avery Sullivan on drums. Originally conceived as a songwriting vehicle for Dowdy, the group now works towards setting downcast lyrics to charming melodies in order to conjure complicated moods that only come from the difficulties of a hard life.
Take for instance, “Night on The Lam.” This track starts off with the speaker hoping his friends still think well of him, then changes to hoping his friends still think of him period. The scope of this inner monologue widens further, with the singer admitting his friends have better things to do than waiting around for his return, and will likely never forgive him for his mistakes. Yet, the music behind these self-critical lyrics is nothing but pleasant and delicate. Even the vocals are surprisingly soft and hushed here. This contrast of tones creates a feeling like the song’s protagonist has come to terms with the pain of cutting ties with the good people from his life, and that he’s ready to start anew somewhere else. It gives you hope that this character has learned from his missteps and history might not actually repeat itself. Something this emotionally and genuinely complex is difficult to get across musically, yet Fust absolutely succeeds here (and consistently throughout the rest of the record).
It must be said that the band’s use of sweet harmonies and a solemn combination of reserved acoustic and electric guitars, mournful pedal steel and piano really drives the melancholic vibe of the record home. The sound is both rural and timeless and often conjures the likes of Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Bill Callahan and Greg Brown. Evil Joy is at the very least, a smooth and soothing listen from start to finish.
Fans of any kind of pastoral music that channels the complexities of life and authentic human emotion will find this album to be a worthwhile experience. Get your copy from Dear Life Records today.