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Determined to “stop repeating the boring parts of the past,” goth/post-punk trio Faux Fear formed in late 2020 shortly after singer/drum programmer Audrey (she/her) and guitarist Nicholas (he/him) moved to Reading, PA. As true Cocteau Twins scholars they won’t play pop without the prefix “dream-” in front of it. Laying the groundwork for a new band in late 2020, the married couple wrote songs and developed their sound in quarantine at home for “when human interaction became a thing again.” An initial third member became convinced that Audrey and Nicholas were working for the CIA and running a sex cult (really), which almost left Faux Fear as a duo before the Philly-based Pra (he/him) answered a Craigslist ad and completed the picture on bass.

Like their darkwave forebears, Faux Fear’s offerings like “Uncharted” and “Legacy” maintain a tricky balance between atmosphere and propulsion. The trio balances the stillness of reverberating specks of guitar with thick slabs of bass and drum machine as Audrey coolly explores the space between with her calmly intense vocal lines, smoothing over even the unexpectedly dissonant chorus of the latter and taking on a whole other dimension. “Code of the Sea” is as oceanic as its title and somewhat akin to folding the rippling waves of vintage Slowdive in with New Order’s most magnetic repetitive hooks.

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