Review by Nick Manduley

November 24, 2020

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Central Jersey pop project FAWNES independently released their debut EP 3 Parts Sadness, 1 Part Madness on November 13th. 3 Parts Sadness packs catchy choruses, atmospheric synth textures, and tasty guitar licks into a neatly-wrapped, twelve-minute package.

A glorious entry into the emo-rap genre, 3 Parts Sadness offers an honest account of living with anxiety and mental illness. The release kicks off with the simplistic yet powerful track “To Be Free,” which features euphoric synths and ethereal vocals. “Losing Battles” follows this wondrous introduction with moody synth chords and lyricism that examines the day-to-day struggle of wondering, “Am I just vibing, or am I just dying slowly?”- a question that many of those who struggle with anxiety and mental illness might find difficulty answering.

The third track, titled “I Don’t Like U,” was the first single from the EP, and effectively accounts for the “one part madness” insinuated by the EP’s title. “I Don’t Like You” is a shining beacon of badassery on 3 Parts Sadness, driven by an infectious guitar lick. The track features a flawlessly smooth guest performance by DJ Rodka (a.k.a. FAWNES’ talented older brother). “Deku Trees” is the emotional powerhouse track that draws the EP to a close. The mid-tempo beats, jazzy synth chords, and melancholy lyricism give way to a soulful guitar solo that paints the track’s mid-section in bluesy catharsis. Between the catchiness, creativity, and songwriting prowess of each track, it’s clear that FAWNES is practically a factory line for total bangers; filler tracks have no place on 3 Parts Sadness.

FAWNES is the creative brainchild of singer-songwriter Mark Rodriguez, who also provides vocals, keys, and guitars in the shore-based punk band Drive, Kid (hey, I’m in that band too! Hi Mark!). Rodriguez has released a variety of singles under the FAWNES moniker throughout the course of the pandemic, which are currently available to stream via the FAWNES soundcloud page. Among them are the rambunctiously cheeky “California (Closet of Capes)” and the viciously energetic “Snooper (Fire Attack).”

3 Parts Sadness, 1 Part Madness is now available on all major streaming platforms.

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Nick Manduley is an aspiring music journalist and musician from Bradley Beach, NJ. He is currently an intern at Relix Magazine where he helps produce and curate online content. Since 2016, he has provided guitars and vocals for the local punk band Drive, Kid. Drive, Kid released an EP and a full-length album in 2018, and are currently recording their sophomore LP.

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