[Album]: Still Here
Overall Grade/Rating: 9.1/10
Subject Matter: 9/10
Replay Value: 8.5/10
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Australian producer Mark Zito returns as Fractures with Still Here.
Fractures has been silent since releasing the eponymous EP in 2014. Now, it’s very apparent that Fractures is Still Here. Producer Mark Zito is a hidden gem out of Australia, specializing in harmonies and understated productions. The key to the Fractures project is tension. Zito can build tension as well as anybody. Even when the songs open up, there is still something tense about the music and the way the vocals sit in the production.
From the open of Still Here, that tension is there. Opening with a driving arhythmic percussion part, followed by a gentle piano. It creates a very uneasy but not unpleasant sound throughout the opening song “Withhold”. That tension continues through most of the album. What makes it sustainable is Zito’s ability to move the tension to different instruments throughout the album and give you moments where the tension is finally released. “Fall Harder” releases most of the tension built up through the first two songs with sustained vocal swells in the choruses.
The tension rebuilds and comes to a head in ‘Time Frame” which builds continuously through two thirds of the songs and never quite opens up the way it feels like it should. It’s followed up with “Noise” which does a similar build throughout the songs and while “Time Frame” opens up some at the end, “Noise” never breaks out. Zito’s soft vocals and expansive harmonies keep the songs flowing and give each song a unique flavor.
Zito also does a great job blending electronic and organic throughout his productions. “Swallow” is a great example of that combination. the way the organic drums are combined with the electronic percussion is flawless. It’s almost difficult to hear the separation in some parts, which is exactly how it’s supposed to be.
The tension throughout Still here comes to a close on “Timelines” and “I Don’t Mind”. Both songs open up completely and really expand the sound of the album. “I Don’t Mind” really allows the building tension throughout the album to be released. It gets extremely erratic with the percussion and guitars while the vocals and the piano sit back in the pocket. It creates a very unique sound but is welcomed due to the rest of the album giving the feeling of holding back.
Still Here is an excellent album and will hopefully get some attention here in the US. You can listen to both the debut EP and the new album on Apple Music and Spotify. Watch a live performance of “Alchemy” from Still Here below.