Hull’s own Fet.Nat has been shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize for their outstanding album Le Mal, released earlier this year on Boiled Records. The Polaris Music Prize is rolling out the Short List today throughout the duration of the afternoon.
The Polaris Prize is a not-for-profit organization that honours, celebrates and rewards creativity and diversity in Canadian recorded music. Last year’s winner was Jeremy Dutcher for his exceptional work Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa.
Fet.Nat—which includes members JFNO, Pierre-Luc Clément on guitars, Linsey Wellman on saxophone, and Olivier Fairfield (Last Ex, Timber Timbre, Andy Shauf) on drums—take traditional music structures and genres and turn them inside out. Their self-described sound “bombastic and off-kilter mix of punk, free jazz, and noise punctuated by nihilistic franglais poetics” is about as close as anyone will get to nailing down this group’s sound.
The band is renowned for their theatrics during their explosive and unnerving live performances, untethered from the one dimensional band-audience dynamic. Their recordings are precise and intricate, yet imply a dose of chaos as the antidote to cookie-cutter structures.
Le Mal is the first full-length since 2014’s Poule Mange Poule—a record that blew minds five years back. With Le Mal, Fet.Nat builds on what they’ve created in the past and offered up a frenetic rhythm & bass, sax dubs, electronic sprinklings, and a vocal poetics that when taken together can only be discerned by those who can appreciate their deviance and eccentricity. “Experimental” doesn’t fully capture the magnitude of what this band is doing. Le Mal is comprised of two sides, one containing MIDI interpretations of the other.
“The MIDI concept was designed as an experimental trilogy, to try to extract ourselves from our own musical equation in three steps: step one being side A’s electric instruments, and step two being side B being MIDI refractions,” explains Clément. The third step will be full erasure, happening only at the end of the existence of FET.NAT.”
“The way we worked on this record makes it special because I freely let PL and Oli do whatever they want with the lyrics, which was more like a résumé of poetry,” says JFNO. “Rarely have I seen this type of shared trust and ethic between writers and musicians. By letting go, it made la suite des choses very interesting and unique.”
Fet.Nat stands shoulder to shoulder with some lofty finalists, including Dominique Fils-Aimé, Elisapie, Haviah Mighty, among others. With such incredible albums at the forefront of this year’s Polaris Shortlist, it’s anyone’s guess who will take home the prize at the Polaris Music Prize Gala, which will be held on September 16 at The Carlu in Toronto.
Stream Le Mal across major streaming platforms here.