David Fendick and Johny Hooker are pioneers all over again and fans of their former outfit Vib Gyor will hardly recognise them. If you look close enough, there maybe a small, slight and subtle overlap between Fossil Collective and Vib Gyor, who found success creating post rock anthems worthy of filling the greatest of cavernous spaces with their grand echoes and reverberations. Fossil Collective is the reciprocal choosing of the intimacy of acoustic guitars to generate a warm folk-pop feel. If this overlap exists, it lies in the subtle, ambient smatterings that create an ethereal accompaniment to the melodies. Fossil Collective’s newest EP titled Let It Go is a pale shade of their previous projects and forges an organic path towards quality songwriting. As any good songwriters do, they tell a good story.
This particular narrative seems to deal with demons from the past as an honest reflection from the title and lead track might suggest. “We were an island/You were the one who broke away… we started something/Tried to make a fire without a flame/Why it wasn’t right I couldn’t say.” As Vib Gyor’s only full-length album was titled We Are Not An Island, it becomes clear that Let It Go is a call to arms to leave the past where it belongs and move forward. That the duo from Leeds follow their own advice is evident on this EP, its five songs demonstrating their maturity and growth.
The other immediately obvious feature is that Fossil Collective aim to invite their audience in. The first two tracks are rooted in a contagious folk-pop liable to get a crowd singing. Wholesome sounding acoustic guitars double as the rhythm section and provide the path upon which the melodic harmonies and catchy chorus lines are manifested. Both ‘Let It Go’ and ‘Satellite’ feature a very rich, natural sound heightened by a barely detectable ambient ebb and flow. Though ‘Let it Go’ is by far the catchiest track on the EP, ‘Without a Fight’ takes the overall prize, despite containing an awkward, ill designed moment. The track begins with the now patented strumming effect and expected harmony. The subtle background textures in the previous two tracks become more apparent towards its end and provide a rich backdrop to accompany the storytelling. The song is powerful even with the jarring electro-drum interlude, which is simply a bit clumsy and out of place. Thankfully, this momentary lapse of reason is replaced with a subtle crescendo of elements that make the finish quite special.
If the first three tracks on Let It Go are very enjoyable, the remaining two are somewhat of a mystery. ‘Guaratuba’ features a vocal section that deploys reverb in a similar way to how ’70s photographers would have used airbrushing techniques, rendering the vocals echoey, sickly and smoothed-over. The song is quite a downer, opting for a simple two-chord progression for most of its duration, and standing out as the EP’s least sonically engaging track, although the strength of the prose remains. ‘Everything But You Was Facing North’ is the closer. The track gets going beautifully with a creamy slide guitar capable of taming beasts in the wilderness. It is at this point that Fossil Collective steal from their own coffers. The chorus has the same vocal patterns and rhythmic beats as the lead motif from ‘Let It Go’. Truth be told, they are in the same key and sung with the same pitch. Given the ultra sticky vibe of the first track, it is hard to miss this similarity, though the melody is sweet and the backdrop features hair-raising ethereal goodness.
‘Let It Go’ is a solid EP with only a few points of contention that are easily overlooked. Fossil Collective have garnered a sound they can proudly call their own and successfully forged a divergent path from their history.