FAULTLINES - FRED'S HOUSE
LCM ALBUM OF THE MONTH - MAY 2016
Release Date: May 7th, 2016
Genre: Folk-Rock, Country Pop.
Band Members: Griff Jameson (Vocals, Acoustic Guitar), Vikki Gavin (Vocals, Percussion), Gafyn Jameson (Bass, Backing Vocals), Paul Richards (Drums) and Alister Bunclark (Keys)
Location: Cambridge, UK
Record Label: Cracking Tunes
Our album of the month for May comes from the multi award-winining Cambridge band Fred's House, who are one of the 'rising stars' of UK Folk Rock. Faultines is the watershed and pivotal second album from a band who lost one of their original members lead guitarist Lachlan Golder during it's recording and after four years together. Lachlan also plays electric guitar on four of the tracks. Indeed one of the songs on the album 'California For Girl' is written about Lachlan and is dedicated to him. With that in mind 'Faultlines is a very interest choice of album title. The dictionary meaning of the word is (a) a line on a rock surface or the ground that traces a geological fault or (b) a divisive issue or difference of opinion that is likely to have serious consequences. This theme resonates through some of the songs of the album including 'Earthquake' with the lyrics "The cracks start to show, we've got our reasons to go. But I'm hoping you'll stay strong instead of just moving on. And take time to heal. God only knows how I feel. Now that it's make or break, it's a chance I have to take."
Faultiines is an excellent album with all songs written or co-written by Griff and Vix and recorded by Neil Rogers at Half Ton Studios. Both Griff and Vix have a knack of creating great hooks and melodies, coupled with their soaring trademark three part 'west coast' harmonies with 'dancing bass player' Gafyn.
With it's jazzy keys opening (almost Doors-like) from Ally and lush sweeping harmonies 'Bluebird' opens the album in true trademark Fred's House style. The first single from the new album 'Shut Up And Dance' positively fizzes along with it's ear-worm chorus, a radio friendly slice of pop. Watch out for the excellent guitar solo from Lachlan too. A perfect piece of retro Laurel Canyon folk-rock pop 'Fire' is another song to get your toes-tapping and singing along.
One of my favourites on the album is the marvellous and relective 'Earthquake'. A lovely string part from Anna Scott on cello, creates the perfect mood. Although Fred's House are known for their up-tempo songs they really excel on the slower tempo, personal and deeper songs . 'Grown Up A Little' and 'Skin and Bone' from their debut album would be a great example.
The very Beatleque and Kink-like 'She Sang' raises the mood rising during the choruses. 'Nevermind' has touches of 'The Smiths' in the chorus. 'She said I don't stand a chance of loving here. That's strange because I never asked her. But someday I will".
'Goodbye Sweet City' is an ode to leaving London. Griff and Vix lived in the 'big smoke' before they moved to Cambridge. With it's almost church-like organ intro 'California For A Girl' is written about and dedicated to fellow bandmate Lachlan, his decision to leave the band and his new life in the US.
Another radio friendly slice of uptempo pop is 'Ghost Town', where Fred's House become 'Ghostbusters' for the night. They are joined in the video by among others the ghostly 'Said The Maiden', who also starred in the 'Shut Up and Dance' video. in the words of Vix 'We don't want no trouble here'
One song that really made me really happy when I saw it included on the new album was an old favoutite, the beautifully written 'Face In The Water'. The song was orginally recorded as part of a winning entry for a BandApp competition and is written by Grifff about their life in the band and for Vix. Watch out for the new keyboard solo from Ally.
'We Don't Talk Anymore' with it's added almost retro mouth organ by Chris Badbury, is a country pop track with a very good hook in the chorus. The harmonies reminds me a little of Honey Ryder. The album ends with another one of our favourites the marvellous 'Another Universe', another Fred's House classic.