Fossil Collective: Tell Where I Lie – Album Review

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I sometimes get an anxious feeling when I go to listen to new material by an artist I’ve become familiar with. In this case, it’s Fossil Collective’s album ‘Tell Where I Lie’, I enjoyed their ‘Let it Go’ EP so much that I didn’t want to have a sinking feeling.

‘Tell Where I Lie’, opens with ‘Let It Go’, this obviously is a good start, settling in with what we know. The Leeds based duo of David Fendick and Jonny Hooker, alonside their collective friends, have a knack of taking their early seventies influences, adding contemporary qualities, little things in the production and turning it into something beautiful. ‘Under My Arrest’ starts off with a simple guitar/simple drum beat intro a a la Shaun Mullins and draws you in until you’re surrounded with beautiful harmonies.

Writing about music you don’t like is easy, writing about about something you’ve grown to love is hard and Fossil Collective have made this task extremely difficult, they’ve made me fall in love with their music.

Through the journey of ‘Tell Where I Lie’, the songwriting talents of FC and the warm production of the tracks wraps you in a safe blanket of goodness. They do wear their hearts on their sleeves, ‘Wolves’ displays a Fleetwood Mac influence (nothing wrong with that!) but even if you’re hearing these songs for the first time, there’s a familiarity with their melodies and guitar lines, you’ll be humming along by the end of the track. Fossil Collective are the kind of band Dave Grohl would love to record onto tape with his Neve desk.

Half way through the album, a natural end to side one if you will, ‘Monument’ boasts a simple starkness with acoustic guitar on one side, electric on the other, which leaves the vocals and beautifully subtle harmonies to shine through. The production on this track then cleverly uses reversed sounds before a fuller band sound emerges, simply stunning.

The upbeat ‘On and On’ then kicks off the next part of the record but it’s ‘The Magpie’, the longest track on the album that catches your scribe’s ears. The track starts off as an uptempo finger plucked acoustic track which builds up as other instruments are added to the mix and the layers of harmonies become heavenly. The track dies and slowly builds up again with instrumentation and vocal ‘ooohs’, to become a perfect Summer song.

The following track ‘How was I To Know’ is in complete contrast with its predecessor. It’s a simple acoustic guitar and vocal and sounds like it was recorded on location. Gentle harmonies and piano notes dot the soundscape for something pure which possesses a tangible realness. The album finishes with ‘In a Northern Sky’ and sees Fossil Collective in a reflective pensive mood, electric guitar with vocal harmonies washed in reverb.

As the last note dies, the first full chapter of the Fossil Collective story ends. I don’t have the sinking feeling I dreaded. This album is like an old friend, that reassures you everything will be ok, saying the right things at the right time. It’s the kind of album that leaves that fuzzy feeling with you long after it’s ended. It’s simply perfect.

Where Tell I Lie is out now. Fossil Collective play Whelan’s on Friday 10th May, tickets from ticketmaster.ie

Liz Lawrence: Bedroom Hero Album Review

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LizLawrenceBedroomHeroLiz Lawrence is an artist that saw live a couple of times by chance. Firstly as support to Brooke Fraser and then to The Civil Wars, both times in The Sugar Club in Dublin. From there, I had some knowledge of Lawrence’s music. She writes catchy melodies, isn’t down at the mouth/woe is me like a lot of singer/songwriters and when she performs live, seems to dance with her guitar.

Transferring an upbeat vibe from stage to record can be a challenging task but one that Lawrence seems to have comfortably achieved. The album gently opens with the title track, ‘Bedroom Hero’ an anthemic track that builds and lyrically captures a memory without being too nostalgic.

This is followed up by the uptempo single ‘Oo Song’, whose melody drags you in, making you sing along before you realize it. This song doesn’t loose the swagger it has live as is the case with ‘Monday Morning’ (which should be a hit, like everywhere on the planet). Both beautifully capture what Lawrence has live and show her to be a clever songwriter.

The production on ‘Bedroom Hero’ firmly places Lawrence under the indie label. Even on slower tracks, like ‘Bathroom Spoons’, the production can surprise and sometimes be reminiscent of artists such as Feist. That’s not all though as ‘Give Me Comfort’ has a rhythm that could easily cross over into the dance genre.

This album shows what a good artist Lawrence is and how much potential she has for the future. Tracks like ‘One Day’ deserve to be heard and set her apart from the crowd. An interesting, enjoyable and memorable debut.

The Walls: Stop The Lights – Album Review

TheWallsStopTheLightsThere are times when trying to listen to a new album can be difficult. Life gets in the way, one needs to be in the right headspace to let it in. With a couple of long train journeys imminent, The Walls’ new album ‘Stop The Lights’, made its way to my iPod. With nothing else to distract me, I put on my headphones and pressed play.

The Walls aren’t known to be the most prolific of bands, it’s been seven years since the release of ‘New Dawn Breaking’ but respect for the Wall brothers Steve and Joe’s talents hasn’t and shouldn’t wane. As the album begins with ‘Bird in a Cage’, their storytelling ability is most evident. Snippets of life packed into three minute bursts and though some of these snippets tell of life’s tough stories, they are also somehow uplifting. ‘It Goes Without Saying’ holds a mirror to Irish society, yes, we had it all but look at what we have now. To many, these could be depressing but the style of words and instrumentation turn these into positive twists. Hard to do, but they’ve done it.

If one was to chronicle influential Irish bands of the late 20th Century/21st Century, The Walls and the brothers’ previous band, The Stunning, would have to get a mention more than once. What’s interesting with ‘Stop The Lights’ is that we can hear other influences you wouldn’t expect. At one point, Steve Wall seems to have a Bob Dylan influence while ‘Dead Flowers’ has a beat that The Naked and Famous would be delighted to possess. Despite their vintage, The Walls are still exploring and are all the better for it.

‘Stop The Lights’ looks back through words but looks forward with positive instrumentation and a sense of hope. This album will out live my train journey, it will be with me for a long time to come. Three albums in twelve years isn’t a whole lot but if they are like this one, I’m more than willing to wait, impressive stuff. Continue reading “The Walls: Stop The Lights – Album Review”

Washed Out: Within and Without Review

King of Chillwave, Ernest Greeen’s first full length album opens with ‘Eyes Be Closed’ and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Blissful, dreamlike, electronica with airy vocals and harmonies.

Hailing from Perry Georgia, Greene has previously released some singles and E.P.s but for his debut has teamed up with Ben Allen who has previously worked with Animal Collective and Gnarls Barkley. The result is quite simply, stunning. 

The album leads us to a totally sun-drenched sensual summer vibe and seems slightly more sophisicated than Greene’s Life of Leisure E.P. Swirly synth sounds and lethargic beats come together an envelop the listener. Continue reading “Washed Out: Within and Without Review”

InCulto: Closer Than You Think Review

inculto closerthanyouthink Having heard the band perform three of the songs from their album in my living room before I heard the recorded version, I wasn’t sure if they would be able to transform the energy to record.

The Lithuanian based band kick off ‘Closer Than You Think’ with ‘Something’, a fifties vibed mid tempo track with memorable hooks and a nice brass section, which we don’t hear enough of in music. The tempo is taken up a notch with ‘Sabroso’, in your face funk! It’s latin vibes really just want to make you dance. Great rhythm section with a deceiving good bass line and break neck speed vocal lines.

‘Closer thank You Think’ is not the kind of album I was expecting to like, but good production values and irresistible dance grooves have converted me. Recent single ‘Close to Midnight’ could be a hit anywhere, (my favourite from my living room session). It’s ‘One step Beyond’ topped up on Funk! Somehow InCulto have managed to incorporate different influences, genres, mix them up together and still sound good. Dirty synth sounds can be heard and seem totally in place with brass lines and ska grooves. Continue reading “InCulto: Closer Than You Think Review”

Babybeef Album Review

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Babybeef is the solo electronic project by Sarah Carroll Kelly, a Dublin based multi instrumentalist and performance artist.

Starting with the current single ‘Music’ it sets the tone for the rest of the album. This is an 80’s tinged electro pop song with a big bass sound and clever hooks.

Throughout the album, you can pin point certain influences and sounds from the 80s. A Bronski Beat style refrain, A-ha and Jermaine Stewart style rhythm, this doesn’t take away from the album but adds to make them more accessible to the new listener. Add a dash of Daft Punk and you’re laughing.

Carroll Kelly does a good job with this debut of showing us what she has to offer. Stand out tracks have to be ‘I’m OK’, an understated track with nice vocal background harmonies, ‘Wait’, a midtempo track which showcases Carroll Kelly’s vocals.

One track that must be mentioned on this album is the Babybeef cover of ‘Thunderstruck’, inspired choice. Thick synth bass sounds galore. I reckon this is what Kate Bush would sound like if she was into electro.

Great introduction to Babybeef , A slightly wider pop mix on these tracks might make it more appealing to the masses but definitely a great start.

Babybeef is released through After the Quake Records