The Fallows – Face The Wolves
Released: 03/09/2012 on 4Real Records
The Fallows are an English folk quartet who create a pleasing brand of pop while bringing their Celtic roots to the forefront. Having never heard of them before now, I took a gamble on the album, and was surprised with the results.
The album opens with ‘We Are The Hunted’, which if I’m honest sounds like it’s trying too hard. It strives to nail the folk vibe from the off and goes too far. The next song, ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ is much better. A song born in the summer sun, it treads a fine line between brilliance and being sickly sweet. Luckily it falls on the right side. The chorus is comprised of easy sing-along lyrics and a jolly violin line. Enjoy with a cider and a big smile.
The pace slows with ‘Better To Burn’, another cracking song. The vocals of Ross Darby really shine through. They’re not extravagant, but not dull. They belong in a folk band, delicate and gruff at the same time. The next track that catches my attention is ‘Raining Back Home’. The theme is something we can all relate to, trying to connect to something or someone we miss dearly. The familiarity of this notion helps a fairly simple track become lovable. The music is peeled back for the majority of this song, comprising of little more than vocals, guitar and what I can only presume is a harmonica.
I feel single ‘Front Row’ is a bit of a no-show. The song doesn’t really go anywhere, and isn’t as enjoyable as the previous tracks. After this, there are a few noteworthy tracks, including ‘Break My Bones’, a quiet chance to enjoy the band’s mellow side; and ‘Annecy’ which turns from a slow burner to a jig without a second glance. We close with the peaceful ‘It’s Not Over’. It’s relaxed, in three-four time and almost floats over you. I like it, the band couldn’t have picked a better song to be the final chapter in the book that is Face The Wolves.
Overall, this is a strong album which never lets you forget the band are very passionate about folk music, but at the same time is friendly and easy to listen to. I can imagine a few of these songs getting a decent amount of airplay on the back of the popularity of other acts like Mumford & Sons or Frank Turner. Here lies my one issue with Face The Wolves: while I like it, there isn’t very much fresh or new about it. But then perhaps folk music isn’t about treading new ground, but about celebrating tradition. Or maybe I’m just narrow-minded. Either way, the band can be proud of their efforts and strive to reach further heights.
Turn On: When The Sun Goes Down, Raining Back Home
Turn Off: We Are The Hunted