An intuitive artist who has transformed her darkest moments into graceful electronic soundscapes, Fears aka Constance Keane has shared her debut album Oíche. Released via her own label TULLE, the Irish-born, London-based musician balances her intense ruminations on trauma alongside delicate synth loops and tentative beats to shine a light on a personal metamorphosis.
Much like the coarse fabric she used to create her altruistic dress on the album’s artwork, Fears allows her lived experiences take up space and permeate this record, which swells with unflinching honesty and elegance. Oíche, meaning “night”, is a graceful collection of shadowy lullabies that spans five years of emotional territory for Fears, and the result is a truly immersive and enlightening body of work.
Since it was written & recorded in the music room of the hospital she was once an inpatient in, opener ‘h_always’ has remained untouched. “I’m black and blue / on the inside too” Fears softly repeats, juxtaposing her emotions alongside ward paraphernalia and atmospheric guitar lines, capturing a mindset that is revisited, dismantled and rebuilt over the course of Oiché.
She taps into the fluctuating nature of her mental health with magnetic synths and soft percussion on tracks like ‘bones’, ‘daze’, ‘vines’ and ‘Blood’, each embellished with vocals that ache with gentle sincerity. Her cyclical, often buoyant synth loops mirror intrusive or recurring thought patterns, whilst her lyrics capture the mental push-and-pull of processing, accepting and learning to let things go. This is epitomised on ‘Fabric,’ which resonates deeper each time it’s listened to.
Her moving account of gripping her knees tightly while confessing “I’m so sorry for the mess I a made” on ‘dents’ is deeply affecting, and marks a change in the record’s tone. The instantly mood-lifting ‘Brighid’, a home-recording of Fears’ sister and late Grandmother in casual conversation, invites listeners to share in an intimate family moment. It beautifully precedes ‘tonnta’, where Fears weaves memories of her Grandmother into her lyrics, crafting a fitting tribute to the person who originally taught her how to sew.
The resilience of familial relationships are acknowledged on the album’s poignant closing track ‘two_’. Whilst it centres around Fears’ own experiences of self-harm, the repeated sentiment “If not for my family / I’d never have healed” is deeply moving. It’s this unwavering love and support – whether from others, or mined from deep within herself – that’s helped to shape Oíche, and why it’s such a cathartic, cohesive collection of songs.
It’s a privilege to listen to this considered, intensely personal record.
Order your copy of Fears’ debut album Oíche here