Hitting the scene back in early 2018, it seemed like the band just blew up out of nowhere. Their debut single “Saints of the Sinners” was co-written by Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz and was produced by scene veteran and notable producer John Feldmann. Their follow up material also featured co-writes from Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus, Twenty-One Pilot’s Josh Dun, All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth and Ashton Irwin from fellow Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer. For a new band releasing their first official material with this many notable names pitching in, that’s a pretty amazing feat. Most bands would kill to have that kind of major support starting off.
While some might say The Faim simply just got very lucky, the band has put in so much work to get where they are now. Originally known as Small Town Heroes, the band (currently consisting of lead vocalist Josh Raven, guitarist Samuel Tye, bassist/keyboardist Stephen Beerkens and drummer Linden Marissen) first performed at Beerkens’ 18th birthday party. After solidifying their lineup, the band changed their name to The Faim, which is French for “The Hunger.” For several years, The Faim hustled to build a following in their hometown of Perth, regularly handing out flyers and posters outside Perth Arena and recording and posting covers of their favorite songs online.
They eventually caught the attention of producer John Feldmann, who was looking for unsigned bands with touring experience. Despite having no tour experience, the band messaged Feldmann anyway. Within a few weeks he hit the band back and the rest is history. Since linking up with Feldmann, the band has released a string of singles before putting out their first body of work last September in the form of their debut EP Summer Is a Curse via BMG. Since the release the band has toured with PVRIS, Against the Current, Sleeping With Sirens and Andy Black, had some lineup changes and worked on their debut studio album with a variety of different producers, which has finally arrived. The Faim truly hit the mark here. State Of Mind is not only a strong debut record but musically versatile, fun, catchy and emotionally charged.
One of the strongest things about State of Mind are some the influences the band has incorporated into the music. It’s not just 10 tracks of anthemic pop rock bangers. There are some on here such as “Humans,” which has a nice whistling melody throughout the track, and the lyrics have an important message about embracing the things that make you unique. There’s the thunderous guitars of “Amelie” which as shown in the music, is a blast to hear live with its explosive chorus, pounding drums and driving guitars and “Summer Is A Curse,” making the cut for the track list, still sounds as fresh as it did a year ago.
Other tracks on the album feature some cool experimentation, such as the noticeable R&B influence on “Beautiful Drama” or the strong 80’s vibes on “Infamous,” which is probably my favorite song the record. However, there are times on the album where I am reminded of other artists. Raven’s vocals often remind me of Brendon Urie (in a good way of course) and the opening track “Tongue Tied” is reminiscent of something Panic! At The Disco would’ve released off of Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die! and the chorus of “Buying Time” reminding me of some of Drake Bell’s music.
The slower tracks on the album, “Words Apart” and “Where the River Runs,” come towards the end of the effort. The former features a very chill atmosphere and I love Raven’s vocal delivery on the pre-chorus. The latter is a beautiful piano ballad about Raven’s troubled relationship with his father. On this track, you can really hear the emotional weight of the lyrics in his voice. The album’s closer and title track is an absolute banger with powerfully honest lyrics about self-esteem. Raven really shows off his vocal prowess throughout the track. I love the sound of the guitars here and that ending! It’s a strong closer.
The Faim’s State of Mind is one of the strongest debut releases I’ve heard this year. The album really displays the band finding their identity and venturing outside of their comfort zone. The lyrics are strong, the choruses are explosively catchy, the musicianship is excellent, the production is solid and they’ve delivered something more than just your run-of-the-mill pop rock album. While working with Wentz, he told the band there’s no room for mediocrity in today’s music industry. State of Mind proves that the band was listening. Don’t sleep on The Faim. It’s a guarantee you’ll miss out.