Embracing a decidedly gothic sound but without resorting to the cliches associated with such the genre, Fia Rose offers us a song that blends classical delicacy, pop addictiveness and no small amount of slow-burning tension and dark edginess.
From the initial sounds of a grave being dug to the salvo of images of decaying buildings to the narrator singing from within the coffin itself, Underneath plays with some unnerving imagery. But its charm, if that is indeed the right word for something this chilling, comes from the restraint and slow pace at which it travels towards its destination.
Almost an a capella delivery for the song’s first half, it is a good two minutes before a solid beat comes in and it moves from classical noir into dark pop. And generic evolution is the name of the game, and the song soon evolves again, the last minute of it grounded very much in a sort of twisted, alt-rock lullaby before the night swallows it and silence takes hold. Almost, as it has one twist in store during the final seconds.
It’s a fascinating song, one which, rather than being genre-less, instead meanders through a number of steps and styles, each time heightening the tension and taking the eeriness to the next level. And whilst the music is ccomposed perfectly to drive the song slowly through these dynamic changes- utilising everything from subtle piano to hypnotic guitar rhythms to funereal beats to banks of harmony vocals – it is Fia Rose’s vocals that are the star of the show.
They set the tone for the opening segment of the song, full of classical grace and mystery, are perfect for the rising tension of the alt-pop middle section and seem to evolve, rising into a punchy, dark rock sound to underline and punctuate the big finish.
There is a real appetite for such music at the moment. With both Hollywood and the TV networks pushing darker and otherworldly shows, we have become used to having such sounds floating unbidden into our living rooms. And perhaps, via synch deals and the right connections, that is where Fia Rose’s future lies.
But this is just one song from a forthcoming EP and so it will be fascinating to see what else she has in her musical arsenal first. More chilling and cool alt-pop? Or something else entirely? I for one can’t wait to find out.