Born in Berlin but now based in London, Kamran Khan’s eponymous debut album under the moniker Fake Laugh hurts like the very first pangs of love. With lush, swooning production from Theo Verney, there is an undoubted poignancy in this.
The chiming dream pop of Melt gives way to the raw Hiding Place and You Will Find Out has heart-squeezing introspection. It’s not hard to hear the influences of two artists Khan has cited as inspirational -Beach House and Broadcast- in the assured yet aching melodies, but also the exquisite delicacy of classic 4AD acts like Cocteau Twins, Ultra Vivid Scene and Dead Can Dance. This lends a timeless, ethereal quality to the work.
With shoegazing having something of a recent musical Renaissance, this album has almost by accident captured the zeitgeist, yet Khan’s sweet keening vocals and liquid guitars lend an off-kilter almost narcotic melancholy that transcends easy labelling.
A thing of sun-dappled beauty.
Out on July 28th on Headcount Records