• Fri, Sep 25, 2020

The New F16s Single Borrows Heavily, But At Least It Borrows Well

Apr 12, 02:55pm

‘Amber’ is overtly derivative, but to discount it as just that would take away from the fact that it’s a solid, well-written song
 Photo Courtesy: F16s Social Pages

Let’s first be honest: this new single from the Chennai-based indie rock band is super fresh and clean sounding. The songwriting is on point, and every section of the song is sure to get stuck in your head. It is also an evolution of the band’s sound since their last big release Triggerpunkte; everything is more mature and they take more cues from the synthpop and psych-pop that has become so popular in the last decade. It seems like this sound suits them to a T, with its clean guitars and smoothly sung vocals. It is accompanied by an incredible animated music video courtesy Deepti Sharma. The only thing about it that is holding it back is that it isn’t particularly new. Here’s how.



There is a difference between being influenced by something and adopting that thing entirely. The first thing anyone will think when hear ‘Amber’ is that it has Tame Impala vibes and that vaporwave-y psychedelic sound that Kevin Parker has made so big in the ‘10s. But it’s more than that; the F16s choose to pack so many elements of that kind of music that it almost feels co-opted and a direct usage of the style than the band putting their spin on an established sound. There are parts of ‘Amber’ that are almost indistinguishable from a Tame song, and that’s both a huge compliment and a problem; down to the reverb-y falsetto vocals in the first half of the track, the honky bass that has relatively little low-end and sounds like it’s being played through a guitar amp, the fuzzy lead guitar parts, the nostalgic analog synths and even the chord and tonal choices made through the song. It depends on how you would look at it, but it is definitely possible that the band could have injected more of their identity and evocative songwriting into this sound instead of just essentially doing a presentation of a style that’s already well known. Previous releases have had dark, brooding elements and funky, sometimes even rock-tinged moments of euphoria, and these moods and vibes are conspicuous by their absence here. It’s just a bit flat.



But again, it needs to be repeated that this is a smashing song. The chorus is so smooth and that little moment of syncopation in it is super tasty. The drums are clean and do a lot for the song without needing to do much. The bass is the same; it holds back and instead completely serves the already solid melody. The synths are twinkly, thick and everything a good old synth in a quality indie song should be. The switch towards the last third of the song is excellent and hits you out of nowhere, which is a welcome surprise and keeps the song interesting till the last second. Every note in the song is placed such that ‘Amber’ will have tons of replay value (it does, in case you were wondering). But there’s just that nagging thing of it being a bit middle-of-the-road. One would assume that the rest of their upcoming EP ‘WKND FRNDS’ will explore a bit more.


Watch AMBER below:



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