Mistakes are common on first albums as artists struggle to find their sound and message. However, No Sleep Records’ Foreign Tongues are breaking the mold and setting new standards with their debut, Fragile, As Said Before., in which they get sentimental and heart-wrenchingly honest with impressive conviction.
Eliciting comparisons to other slow modern and indie-rock such as The National, Title Fight’s latest album Hyperview, and even some Modest Mouse, Fragile, As Said Before. is hauntingly sophisticated and musically complex. The album allows the New England-based five-piece to display their sound, which is raw and emotional, in a style that listeners are sure to find compelling.
The eleven track album clocks in at just under 40 minutes, yet it’s jam packed with emotion and passion. Like peering into an unlocked diary or the inner workings of someone’s anxieties and daydreams, loneliness, depression, suicide, self-loathing, and self doubt are just a few of the themes explored in Fragile, As Said Before. You can hear the pain and forgiveness in every muddled-word signer/guitarist Cameron Moretti sings, which is entrancing and relatable.
The album starts out strong with the chill, even-tempo vibe of “Fools of Love.” With lyrics like “I want to be the one that drives you home/ Yeah you don’t care for me/ Hey I can hold your coat/ This conversation is condescending to all the people that we know/ I’ve grown a comfort in being alone”, it’s clear to see that “Fools of Love” honestly explores exactly what the title implies.
“Hurt You”, the fourth track on the album, explores a similar theme, but taken a step further. The song begins with the lyrics “Do you ever want to hurt yourself/ Cause I do/ I didn’t want to let you in” as it picks up slightly repeating the same sentiments. The messages in this song speak to putting up walls and feeling ashamed for not succeeding whether it’s in love or in life, among many other things.
“Concrete Pillows”, the seventh song, is easily one of the most upbeat and catchiest tracks on the entire album. Lines like “There’s a stranger inside of me/ A stranger inside of me/ Can’t take my eyes off of you” suggest a brighter, more optimistic take on a relationship, which is refreshing given the somber nature of the previous six songs on the album.
Fragile, As Said Before. ends with a track appropriately titled “Our Fragile Pain”, which kind of encompasses and resolves everything the entire album is about. Featuring both an acoustic guitar and riffs of an electric guitar, “Our Fragile Pain” reflects on the acceptance of pain in a charming and satisfyingly witty way. “I just want you to be successful and happy/ you’re sentimental and I think it’s sweet” sums up the resolution of feelings everybody comes to when they’ve decided to move on from pain. Yes, it hurts, but it’ll be okay.
Perhaps justifiably so, listeners tend to get really hyped up about bands who are able to exude an emotional energy that is loud, confident, and in your face. However, there’s an often overlooked beauty that comes from powerful energy and themes being explored in a more scaled back manner.
With that being said, there’s much to be appreciated about Foreign Tongues’ Fragile, As Said Before. when listened to with a thoughtful ear. The album takes listeners through an intense emotional roller coaster, and the lyrics, tones, and themes explored in each of the songs fit together like puzzle pieces to create a well-rounded final product. Sure, the content may be messy, but when put together, everything seems complete and it works just the way it’s supposed to.