Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

"I Am An Island"

Release date: 07 April 2014
Fatherson – I Am An Island
04 April 2014, 16:30 Written by Rachel Bolland

There’s something about the Scottish accent that just lends itself so brilliantly to misery. In much the same way that Englishmen so often play villains in Hollywood films, the Scots have a propensity and the stereotype of being dour, miserable bastards, a generalisation that I can attest, having grown up in Glasgow isn’t always an entirely fair summation of the Scottish people. The accent does, however, suit the more downbeat side of indie rock music. Belle and Sebastian, Aidan Moffat and Frightened Rabbit – a band Fatherson will inevitably draw endless comparisons with – all utilise the fact that sadness just makes for better music. No one wants to hear how great your day was.

Fatherson’s debut I Am An Island maintains the tradition of morose Scotsman sings sad lyrics in sad Scottish accent but the band do it really quite well. Lyrically, they don’t hit on any overarching, groundbreaking concepts but they sing about things that almost every 20-something can relate to. Mainly, that it turns out no one really know what they fuck they’re doing and that sneaking suspicion that everyone else is making it up as they go along as well.

“Hometown” sums up that feeling that your teenage dreams never quite expected the reality that’s hit you since leaving home but without entirely losing optimism; “And I will blindly throw my fate, into the next thing that comes my way”. The main lyric in “Half The Things” – “Half the things in here don’t work, but I don’t have the heart to sort them out” – is just a little bit too similar to The National’s “Afraid of Everybody” and at times verges slightly to close to Fall Out Boy-esque emo imagery with lines like “I am on an island/that no-one ever visits/I’m wasting all my time here/I’ll never get it finished”.

Musically it’s again nothing groundbreaking, but it’s varied and, in certain elements, really rather good. “Dust” provides a quieter moment with primarily just guitars and Ross Leighton’s voice taking on a gentler approach, encompassing beautifully executed falsetto and adding a lovely, reflective respite in the middle of what is, for the most part, more traditional indie rock album. Lead single “I Like Not Knowing” provides the latter; huge, crashing drums open the single which then continues to build before dropping back to pre-empt a massive chorus it’s easy to imagine being shouted back at them by adoring crowds. The breakdown towards the end of the song features the band repeating the words “oh no” over and over again before crashing back into it, summing up the teenage angst that characterises so much of the record.

It’s hard not to draw comparisons with Frightened Rabbit, Mersault, The Twilight Sad or any other Scottish band who’ve broken through in the last few years, but that ain’t exactly a bad thing. I Am An Island can be seen as emblematic of the scene it’s come from. If you weren’t a fan before, it’s unlikely to convert you, but if you’re already smitten, it may well prove to be a gem in your collection.

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