Formed by guitarist Gregor Fair and drummer Jon Wood in 2015, Shanghai-based instrumental rock outfit Foster Parents released their debut album at the beginning of April
. The impetus for their founding came from Fair witnessing what we'll diplomatically label an 'underwhelming' opening act for Belfast-based outfit And So I Watch You From Afar at MAO.
'The support band there were really, really bad,' he says. 'And And So I Watch You From Afar were always one of my favourite bands, so I thought "if they're getting support shows for this level of band, I know I can do better than that." So I made a post on Reddit.' Shortly after he met Wood, and Foster Parents were born.
The 12-track record is entitled Grim,
yet it's anything but to listen to. Instead, it's just over half an hour of layered, melodic, infectious math-rock sprinkled with snatches of dialogue from your favourite '80s films (Flight of the Navigator
, Weird Science
and more). You can listen to Grim in full here
'It's been a big labour of love, but more labour,' says Fair of the release, which has been 'a very drawn out year' in the making. Wood agrees that 'it's taken too long', but in part this was due to the pair to honing their sound and writing new songs along the way, which they subsequently wanted on the record. 'I think we defined the style a bit more as we went on,' he says. 'And we wanted to put out what we thought was the best material.'
It's certainly a record that sits comfortably alongside the likes of Maps & Atlases or Joan of Arc stylistically, though Foster Parents are wary of such labels. 'I've never liked the term math-rock; it fits in there, but there's something too clinical sounding about it,' says Fair. 'I feel like such a dick either way. I either say "math-rock" or I spend five minutes fumbling around as if we're completely uncategorisable and something totally unique, which isn't true.'
'If you're talking with someone who likes that style of music it's a natural way to define it. For someone who isn't familiar with that type of music, it sounds a bit odd,' adds Wood, before they settle on 'melodic indie-rock' as an acceptably unpretentious tag.
Ultimately, the important thing is their music makes for an enjoyable listen. And So I Watch You From Afar, if you're reading this, we've found the support band for your next Shanghai show.