Drop the Fear

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One of the groups that came out of Denver, CO's Helmet Room collective in the early 2000s, Drop the Fear is an alternative pop/rock trio that combines the shoegazer/dream pop sound with a strong appreciation…
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One of the groups that came out of Denver, CO's Helmet Room collective in the early 2000s, Drop the Fear is an alternative pop/rock trio that combines the shoegazer/dream pop sound with a strong appreciation of electronica (often incorporating elements of trip-hop). But despite the heavy use of electronic programming on the band's recordings, Drop the Fear is far from a techno or rave group -- the Denver residents are very song-oriented, and their work emphasizes melody and vocal personality (as opposed to simply being concerned with beats, rhythm, and production style).

Most of that vocal personality comes from Sarah Marcogliese, who is the group's primary lead vocalist. It seems as though female lead singers are almost obligatory in the shoegazer/dream pop field -- they are quite prevalent, at any rate -- and Marcogliese's lead vocals have been an integral part of Drop the Fear's moody, haunting, atmospheric work. Marcogliese (a San Francisco Bay Area native who plays electric guitar and keyboards with the group) obviously has a strong appreciation of Björk, who has influenced not only Marcogliese's singing, but also Drop the Fear's songwriting -- and the threesome's other influences range from the Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, and Lush to Massive Attack. It is quite appropriate that one of Drop the Fear's influences is Lush (specifically, the shoegazer/dream pop albums Lush recorded before giving themselves a power pop makeover with 1995's more rocking Lovelife and the U.K. hit single "Ladykillers") -- Drop the Fear's material is, in fact, quite lush. Instead of rocking aggressively, Drop the Fear is the sort of group that would rather float, and that outlook is quite typical of the shoegazer/dream pop aesthetic.

Drop the Fear was formed in late 2003, when Marcogliese joined forces with Ryan Policky (electric guitar, keyboards, programming, lead and background vocals) and Gabriel Ratliff (drums, keyboards, programming, background vocals). At times, Marcogliese and Policky get into some female singer/male singer interaction, but Marcogliese is Drop the Fear's main vocalist. Marcogliese is a former member of a band called Look Eye, while Policky and Ratliff played together in the Denver outfit Pure Drama (which had a small local following) in their pre-Drop the Fear days. Outside of Drop the Fear, Policky has worked a "day gig" as a website designer; one of his main clients has been actor/comedian and Saturday Night Live graduate Adam Sandler. The first thing Drop the Fear put out was a limited-edition three-song EP titled Listen; that disc was followed by the group's first full-length album, a self-titled release that came out in December 2004.