The bedroom studio-based girl singer/male producer setup has become a well-used combination over the last thirty or so years. It is a formula which has produced recent successes with artists as varied as Goldfrapp and The Ting Tings. Hoping to add their names to the list are Manhattan-based J. Peter Durniak and Tamara Jafar who operate under the name of Cultfever.
The duo describe their songs as “cinematic vignettes” which is a fitting description since their arrangements are often ambitiously executed. The best moments of inspiration come from ‘Knewyouwell’ which builds neatly on a simple drum loop, (what sounds like) a female choir sample and a soulful turn from Jafar. It screams to be released as a single. ‘Duress’ also impresses thanks to Jafar’s seductive whispers, subtle ambient washes and nagging guitar riff.
Elsewhere, the duo’s education in audio engineering are always evident but there’s a feeling of the songs themselves not being “hooky” enough to stand up in their own right. There’s a moment on ‘Spill’ where Jafar seems to singing the melody from Sting’s ‘Fields Of Gold’ and there’s just a bit too much going on for the closing track ‘Collector’.
If a parallel can be drawn it is with The Other Two, an equally modest electronica side project spawned by Gillian Gilbert and Stephen Morris of New Order renown. Like Cultfever, the musicians were real life partners but despite great singles they never achieved a great album. There’s still plenty of time for Cultfever to buck that trend though and this is a decent start.
Cult Fever Official Site
The Other Two, Goldfrapp