Invisible Man – Fred Abong (single review)

What better way to announce a forthcoming full-length album than with a cracking new single, especially if you can also call in your long-term musical buddies to help with the workload. To this end, Fred Abong has unleashed not one but two videos, one lyricocentric, the other a more visually narrative based affair, filmed by none other than friend and band-mate Kristen Hersh.

If previous single, The Minit, was woven from sparing, melancholic and slightly bleak musical (under)statements, here he takes those same raw and ragged emotions and delivers them with a more forceful punch. There is still the trademark, “rough-around-the-edges” approach, nothing is smoothed off, highly polished or over-produced, which might seem the antithesis of the modern zeitgeist but then this is someone who has always wilfully swum against the musical flow to a certain degree, so you should expect nothing less.

And the brusque nature of the music delivers a wonderful contradiction at the point where the music and the video interface. The song and the visuals combine to tell a story of a being whose story has captured the public attention and, as is the modern way, has suffered the rages and ravages of public opinion based on people’s perception of what they have seen on screen. The sucker-punch comes with the fact the song takes a back-seat to the video and so together they are the perfect representation of everything which is wrong with the short span of attention, face value, media consumption of the world today. Clever huh?

But we know that Fred Abong is clever, even when working with such sparse sonics he manages to have more to say than the next forty artists put together. It’s just that he doesn’t feel the need to make a big thing about it, rather he waits for like-minded people to tune into his ideas of their own volition. Why shout from the rooftops to a largely indifferent world when you can use your creations to have quiet, intimate conversations with people who truly understand where you are coming from? Why indeed?

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