|THE FEARNOTS|| ||
At times, the three members of the Fearnots might not all
play the same rhythm or time signature, but the band is
always locking in with one another and playing as a
unit. Their approach combines off-kilter meters with the
drive of vintage punk rock. Songs frequently break from
the standard verse-chorus-bridge structure, instead going
for several different parts that feel cohesive and
compelling. While the sound might be comparable to math
rock, the Fearnots create songs with a cathartic arc, with
a destination in mind, that don't merely show off the
ability to riff in 5/4.
Hille Paakkunainen plays a guitar two strings away from traditional open tuning and, as a result, many of her song sketches are based on melodies rather than power chords. Mike Shanley writes bass lines that serve double duty: rhythm parts and extra counterpoints that harmonize with the guitar. The former quality works well in tandem with drummer David Petrou, whose approach touches on thinking drummers such as Minutemen/fIREHOSE's George Hurley: launching patterns that contrast, but that do not contradict, the contributions of the melodic instruments, while viscerally driving the beat. As a vocalist, Paakkunainen comes across like a belter. She can wail, boiling over into screams one moment, and, at other times pulling back for a more gentle sound that keeps the intensity going.
The band came together in the fall of 2004. Shanley is a veteran of several local bands and concurrently plays with the Mofones. Before moving to Pittsburgh for school, Petrou was a leg of the 3-piece wunderkinder forming alternative-rock Barney's Bicycle in his hometown of Anaheim, California. A native of Finland, where she played in the death metal band Raven Sky, Paakkunainen also came to Pittsburgh for school after living briefly in Glasgow and performing as a singer/songwriter in Glasgow and London.