Fortune Teller – ‘PREMONITIONS’

By Ian Kenworthy

You can’t seriously call your band Fortune Teller and title your first EP ‘Premonitions’ without expecting an avalanche of clairvoyance jokes, can you? Luckily, you don’t have to reach for a crystal ball to see big things in this pop-punk band’s future. They aren’t relying on prophecy, they’re being proactive. Despite their social media feeds vying for your attention, until now there’s been no substance to divine from, so this five-track EP sets the standard.

Hailing from a former coal-mining area of Glamorgan, it’s not hard to see why Fortune Teller wanted to escape. Pop-punk is a genre often obsessed with small towns and feeling separated from busy city life. Themes of alienation, youth culture and disconnection are common. If there’s somewhere in the UK known for exactly this thing, it’s Wales. This might explain why they’re drawn to the American pop-punk sound of bands like The Story So Far, it’s a huge influence on their style and song construction. Fans of homegrown bands like Roam or Trash Boat will also find a lot to like here. They haven’t quite worked out how to make the sound their own, but they’re showing off solid songcraft, making this a promising debut.

Vocalist Mason Meacham has a fast, breathless delivery, leaning on certain words to give them extra weight. It’s an engaging, unshowy performance built more around shifting energy than stark lyrical content, this makes sense given the style they’re going for. The opener ‘Starting Again’ is startlingly assured. There’s swagger, intent and personality. It has a delightful chorus with a subtle but effective hook that proves to be its greatest strength. You can hear ‘Drop The Act’ straining to break free from its influences, resulting in a solid and likeable song that also leans heavily on the rapid vocal delivery. Perhaps aiming for something more relaxed the guitars on ‘Problematic’ are spacious, although no one seems to have told Josh Davies whose drums still thunder at a hundred miles an hour. His rapid-fire fills might seem at odds but the unusual energy fits with the EP as a whole.

With a degree of foresight, the band recorded in a studio in South Wales and then sent the songs to one of their heroes, Tom Ianello (known for working with Four Year Strong) for mixing and mastering. It sounds quality. However the guitar tones have a hard metallic edge that is a bit too harsh for strummed chords. Ironically, it swallows the space on the songs called ‘Problematic’ and ‘What A Shame’ making them feel cluttered and pushing out the vocals. In contrast, the lead guitar sound on ‘Jump Ship’ works far better, giving it depth and offering a wicked, whammy bar bend in and out of the neat solo. As the song fades away Meacham sings “I was left behind” and right there you know he’s got pop-punk sussed.

Listening to ‘Premonitions’ you can hear big things in Fortune Teller’s future, but they knew that already.

IAN KENWORTHY

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