Straddling the line between 80s rock and 90s indie, UK based Fear of Men have released Early Fragments, a pre-LP of sorts, collecting together all the singles the band has released thus far in their career, along with B-sides, and new release, 'Seer'.

Of course, releasing something like this laughs straight in the face of creating a cohesive collection, so instead of even trying to piece some sort of understandable order, Fear of Men have put the latest releases at the start of the album, and the older songs at the end. Oddly enough, it really works just fine, as these songs were undoubtedly never going to be part of a debut album, it seems like the best way to get them out there altogether before we are given a fully fledged album standing on its own two feet.

We've always been big fans of Fear of Men's sound here, and it's great that these songs are going to get more attention, and really, that's about it in terms of a critique of the collection itself. In terms of the music that's here, it's all good, some better than others, and a clear difference between the music which starts off the collection, and that which finishes it.

We start with new track, 'Seer'. 'Seer' is a sombre, echo filled, stripped back song, which is possibly the bleakest we have seen Fear of Men so far. "Do you know what to do when you’re on your own?/Do you know what to do when you’re on your own again?" Lyrics are repeated and added to throughout the song, with harmonies building upon melodies laid down by a band feeling comfortable, yet at times worryingly so. It is only as the collection continues onward that we realise that the songs get happier and happier, culminating in 'Ritual Confession' and 'Spirit House', Fear of Men at their happiest. Whereas, sure, songs like 'Mosaic' are wonderful in their ability to conjure up a world through the lyrical delight provided by Jess Weiss, it sure isn't the happy dance-fest that is 'Ritual Confession'. This is no bad thing, but it is a noticeable change. It definitely sets a tone, going forward, for the band. Personally, I see this as a slight shame, as when Fear of Men utilise their ability to craft intelligent, fun, pop-hooks, the results are wonderful, and it would be a shame that this side of them is lost in future releases. Given that, however, the band has all the components on offer to put something really incredible together, and their later tracks do have a certain dream-like quality that their earlier material didn’t.

I think it's safe to say that the future of Fear of Men is most definitely an open book, and that if any of the brilliance on offer here in Early Fragments is developed upon, we're in for a great future with this band. It is obviously, therefore, imperative that the band treads carefully, and takes that which makes it great, and rejects that which bogs it down, in going forward.