Admiral Fallow’s latest release, Boots Met My Face, is heartfelt, honest & pure as the Scottish snow, it will take approximately sixty seconds for you to stop what you’re doing, pay attention & state “I think I’m going to love this record” & then at approximately one hundred & fifteen seconds in you’ll get to pat yourself on the back for being right.
The solo clarinet that introduces opening track “Dead Against Smoking” gives way to become a subtle melody that then develops into the Elbow-esque hook of “…you’re like gasoline.” It’s all kept ticking over nicely by some tasteful bass playing that is there purely for the benefit of the song & nothing more whilst the vocals are left to weave their magic over lush strings & piano.
This is songwriting that could easily have formed the basis of a lead single taken from “Seldom Seen Kid” but without any of the unnecessary pomp of the Mercury Music Prize winner, there’s enough drama contained here in substance without relying on over production. “Squealing Pigs” follows brandishing quick folk picked guitar playing & worthwhile chord progressions that bring to mind early Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly & then breaks into a staccato chorus that will lodge itself firmly in your brain alongside the most defiantly happy moments of your history, coupled with high & low harmonies that can’t help but raise a smile. Even the up-tempo jaunt of “Taste the Coast” is feel good in a more obvious way but the well thought out backing vocals stop it from sounding contrived, indeed Scotland’s Admiral Fallow certainly know what they’re doing.
They aren’t the types to sit in the comfort zone of one genre either, there’s plenty of crossover potential illustrated on songs like “Subbuteo.” It’s the dynamic close to the song crashing along on half time drums & lilting wind instruments that Arcade Fire would throw in when slaying their arena crowds. “Delivered” also lights up the speaker threshold when lead vocalist Louis Abbott belts out passages over chiming, reverb lashed guitar with a thick accent that makes estuary-core mockneys’ like myself green with envy.
Like the aforementioned Arcade Fire, the roots of Admiral Fallow’s style may be based in the traditional side of things but they’re not afraid to take an idea, abandon any tried & tested formula for song arrangement & still come out the other side smelling like award winning roses. There are occasional & probably quite un-intentional nods to fellow countrymen; Abbott’s voice would lend itself very well to delivering Biffy Clyro in a (much) quieter moment while holding the exquisite timing & lyrical content of Roddy Woomble, it sometimes makes you wish that only those born outside of Laaandan were given the rights to attempt this stuff, sigh.
You can listen to the album below to give yourself as a listener an immediate reference point but it’s one of those where you really have to play it from start to finish because literally track after track will ever so gently work its way into your day & it’ll be better because of it. So then, to the final track “Dead Leg,” the charming swan song that creeps along over a backwards loop to keep the whole fragile line in check before you have to get up & press ‘play’ again.