Review: Fue “Hallelujah”
Little information is available as of yet on this bright young group entering the Contemporary Christian Music scene out of Chicago. The black and white photography design and layout of Fue’s debut EP Hallelujah was done by background vocalist Abi Rutzky. The quintet is standing grouped together in an open semi-circle in unassuming poses in the woods – an appropriate stance of simplicity and humility. As for the band’s name, Fue, it is unlikely that it comes from the past tense form of the Spanish word meaning “to be”. Based on the band’s innovative musicality, it would rather make more sense for Fue to be named after the Japanese word for flute. An unadorned shoot of bamboo was made to produce a wide array of lovely and haunting sounds by the ancient Japanese who used these as spiritual tools.
These small clues may offer an inkling of insight into the true nature of the band. Composed of the three May brothers and two Rutzky sisters, Fue is an artistic powerhouse. The trio of songs on Hallelujah are hymns of praise presented as a formidable group effort. Joanna Rutzky is the principle songwriter and vocalist. Her crystalline vocals resemble a finely polished Barlow Girl but the comparison ends there as the May brothers prove to be a highly talented and excellent back up ensemble. Aaron May triumphs on drums in “Faithful” with his playing liberating the song from its mellow beginnings and charging into the second chorus. Adding to his full sound is a nice string arrangement undoubtedly buffed up by producer Jaben Pennell. Joanna adds a delicate touch on the keyboard in the fade out of the coda.
“Abide in Love” features excellent vocal blending between Joanna and Abi. Like the opening song, “Abide in Love” has its hills and valleys in musical excitement. The soft, rich opening of the song is but a memory when the heavy Arabian-tinged, string-laden bridge pulses over clean angst driven guitars. Then, just as before, the music slowly melts back into the placidness from hence it came.
Tim May on guitars and his brother Ryan on bass get a chance to jam out with Aaron on the title track. The boys’ heavy rock sound creates an electrifying backdrop for Joanna’s lovely vocals. She never has to push or strain her voice but rather relies on the instrumentation to convey a sense of spine-tingling excitement. Three songs is more than enough to appreciate that a new modern sound is taking shape with Fue, but it is not nearly enough to be sated. As the band continues to play together and mature as musicians and songwriters, undeniably Fue will gain notoriety and a loyal fan base.
Review by Kelly O’Neil