After several acclaimed singles, the West Country based Fritillaries release their self titled debut album, oozing with originality, musically entrancing and lyrically intriguing .
Release Date: 15th July 2022
Label: Pear O’Legs
Format: CD / Digital
South West England has given us some stunning folk artists over the years; Seth Lakeman, Police Dog Hogan, The Wurzels…yes I do go back that far! Now, from Bristol, we have the the wonderful Fritillaries.
I reluctantly admit I sat on their album for a few weeks otherwise employed, but it was an airing on BBC’s Wednesday Folk Night of the vibrant ‘In The Dark’ which stirred me into action. Perhaps its reminiscence to the theme music from Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, an Eagles tune, that matches their Americana folk style which grabbed my attention. This track is one of many which shows their originality more than being derivative of other music fusing together traditional English folk qualities and the musicality of Americana style playing of banjo, mandolin and guitar.
This debut album is a compelling listen. The closeness of their musical history, Hannah and Gabriel having played together since their younger days, runs clearly throughout. Their music sways gorgeously from lively romps to gentle hypnotic beauty. Entertaining yet thought provoking, dealing with personal loss and hopeful gain of everyday life.
Befittingly, the mellow opening track, Unearthing, is as much soothing musical therapy for the ear as gardening does in providing mental therapy. Staying in tranquil mood we unearth the frailties of human nature experienced during times of solitude , isolation and loneliness. although mournful there is intricate softness in the rich interplay between the harmonies, the stringed double bass and mandolin.
The banjo isn’t an instrument which usually instils tender cosiness but this is achieved in Little Bird. The album is appropriately brought to a close with The Night is Drawing In. In the beginning we were planting fritillaria and now we come full circle: in the end we find them, representing the desire that our hopes for the future come to fruition.
Some of the themes may seem mournful and gloomy but they are delivered with such delicacy, musically and poetically, it makes for a captivating listen. There appears to be simplicity in that delivery but repeated listens reveal something new each time.
They may have found Ru Lemer’s producing challenging but the end result has set the bar high for future releases as much of their work has been applauded on many radio plays and brought tour appearances in the UK and abroad.
This multi-instrumental and multi talented duo have created a musical treasure-trove of intense and exquisite music. Their seeds of hope for a successful future have firmly been planted in this exceptional record.
Listen to Unearthing from Fritillaries below.