When you hear a band is inspired by the likes of 80’s synthesizer pop music, and artists including Maroon 5, Coldplay, LANY, New Order, and U2, then you know you’ve got someone intriguing on your hands. Add to that said band, after first meeting outside a bar in Nashville, then packed up their lives and headed out to LA, and you have no doubt this is someone you want to listen to.
FAMES is much more than just an intriguing backstory. The trio, comprising Ian Johnson, Wesley Chandler and Blair Heumann, are also consummate artists alone, and when put together they’re a force to be reckoned with. New song, ‘what do i call u? (ex sounds wrong)’ calls forth their Maroon 5 influences, although that might just be the very evident Los Angeles sound and production values. The vocals are laid on top of gentle instrumentals, which in part are barely perceptible, but nonetheless an essential component of the track; they coalesce with the voices, and to an extent it’s nearly impossible to divide the two layers in some sections.
There’s a certain boyband element to their singing, and we’re reminded of some recent UK proponents, such as The Vamps, and New Hope Club. Dare I say, even One Direction. It’s appealing, and compelling, and we can guarantee the super catchy refrain of “what do I call you, cos ex sounds wrong” will play over and over in your head long after you’ve finally decided to stop pressing replay (and you will keep pressing that button).
Speaking about the track, FAMES said,
“It’s just about the drastic change someone goes through when a breakup happens and that person you once held so closely is gone. You no longer know what to call them and it feels like calling them “ex” is like crossing them out of your life forever. Musically the chorus came first and once we understood where the song wanted to go it came together quickly. This is by far our favorite song we’ve released as a band.”
FAMES have released two versions of the song on video, a lyric video of the studio track, which you can watch below:
If that’s not enough, they’ve also released a stripped back version, which comes as part of their ‘Stripped Apart Series’, with each member of the band performing the song in their own home, separated because of Covid-19.