New Music: Fossil Cliffs’ ‘Enter The Realm’

Fossil Cliffs is back, following their 2014 self-titled debut EP with their latest installment, ‘Enter The Realm’. Originally the side project of Kuato’s Mike D’Eon, Fossil Cliffs is an alternative experimental group based out of Halifax, produced by Acadian Embassy. While their initial album was recorded almost solely by D’Eon, with keyboard and backing vocals provided by Julia Weir, Fossil Cliffs expanded to include Trevor Murphy and Matthew Gorman for live performances, with the full band contributing to the recording of ‘Enter the Realm’.

‘Enter the Realm’ opens with a strong start, the droning dystopian rambling and catchy guitar riffs of ‘Federation Law’ setting the stage for the rest of the LP. D’Eon himself singles the song out as one of the most notable on the album, explaining it as “kind of a critique of the current political situation in North America. With the current trend of astronomical income inequality, I think it is time to rethink the political approach and try to incorporate more social democratic values.”

Following this memorable opening, the rest of the album doesn’t disappoint in the slightest, leading up with the steady-paced heartbreak jam ‘I Never Thought You Would’, before the album delves into heavier psychedelic fare in both lyrics and sound, most notably ‘Bury Your Heart’ and the title track, ‘Enter the Realm’. Throughout the album, the band’s consistent sound is that of murky electric rockabilly played at half speed that gently slopes off to a lo-fi surf rock, built drums first and set to punk rock chanting.

D’Eon’s musical influences can be felt throughout the album as well. The slower, built up chanting and sweeping ambient instrumentals of ‘The Woods’ are reminiscent of Deerhunter’s ‘Desire Lines,’ while the psychedelic-county ‘Set You Free’ is an anti-materialism anthem influenced by the Sadies. D’Eon has listed several of his strongest influences as Thee oh sees, Black Lips, Fuzz, and Sonic Youth, as well as the Band.

While it’s a bit of a short play through at around 22 minutes, ‘Enter the Realm’ is definitely worth sitting down with for a listen or twelve. With its compelling mix of psychedelic instrumentals and garage-rock vocals, ‘Enter the Realm’ is more than enough reason to start keeping an eye on Fossil Cliffs, if you weren’t already.

Although Fossil Cliffs began as the side project from Kuato, it’s since become D’Eon’s main focus, with Kuato drummer Josh Porthier moving out of the province, making it hard for the band to regularly collaborate. According to D’Eon, “Kuato basically jam and record for a week a few times a year. Which we did about 6-7 months ago. We recorded 2 songs. We have a good chemistry and work well together so we can get a lot done in one week. Kuato has not called it quits yet, we still hope to record more and play some shows in the future.“

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