Fatherson - I Am An Island

A solid debut with more than a hint of songwriting beauty, passion and appeal.

Poet John Donne told us no man is an island; but Fatherson would have you believe otherwise. Opener ‘I am an Island’ (told you) sets the tone for the Kilmarnock four piece’s debut album – it’s all delicate pain and committed sadness. Lead singer Ross Leighton is set on creating an aura of solitude – and he does a decent job. Then the song kicks into life and the guitars are left to infuse his sorrow with angst.

Gloomy Scottish indie rock has quite a pedigree, and any band that steps up to try to peddle it must deviate just enough from the blueprint to make it worthwhile. Fatherson do that with quite a direct route. The album houses a number of subtle arrangements, interesting structures and catchy melodies, but the band normally abandons these in favour of stronger, less ethereal noise blasts. This is a shame as Fatherson are better quieter, when the gloom they’re grasping at is given space to breathe.

Leighton’s vocals are excellent – they dip and soar, jam-packed with emotion and volume. However, his lyrics fall behind, lacking the natural effectiveness his voice has. In the same way Fatherson seem desperate to create a storm cloud to play in, Leighton’s words don’t have natural grace and sound forced.

It is a solid debut with more than a hint of songwriting beauty, passion and appeal, but it could do with a little inventiveness. A number of songs stand out for variation – ‘James’, ‘Foreign Waters’ and ‘Cat Stevens’ in particular – but the same hammering choruses and jarring guitars seem to emerge. The bands seems in a rush to impress the power of their sound on the listener, when they’d do better to take their time and let it come naturally.

Tags: Reviews, Album Reviews

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