Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Review: Fear Of Folk - Stags Head Raw

Fear of Folk deliver a slice of Americana with a European twist bypassing the clichés and constraints of the genre, creating their own musical identity in the process. True life experience is still the lyrical cornerstone however, you will not find any references to barren deserts or your grandma's knickers. Fear Of Folk concern themselves with the universal truths of the modern world. Early morning come down ballad You Will Never Know showcases front man Gerrard Griffin's vocal range. From quiet heartfelt murmurs, to full volume this is how it is refrains, his ability to draw empathy from the audience is clear from the off. His affable nature and upbeat stage presence offers light relief between songs. "That's enough happiness now back to the pain" he quips following Smile Lights Up My Face, a Hawaiian tinged feel good ballad, much to the amusement of the crowd.

Teenage Fanclub-esque probable single Headstrong was an early highlight of the set. Heavy on melodic interplay between perfectly weighted pedal steel vibrato and shiny spring guitar lines. Pedal-steel is a major part of the Fear Of Folk sound however, it is never clunky or overbearing and most importantly it's never cheesy. Chip On My Shoulder a rousing Harvest Moon style love song with a sing along "oh oh" vocal outro, features an impressive Pedal Steel solo. Wistful radio friendly love song Lost + Found was the highlight of the set with a catchy chorus of "For you, for you, for you" which hooks the listener in

Fear Of Folk are a welcome addition to the ranks of Ireland's folk scene which has been revitalised in the last eighteen months or so. Their début release 'Charity and Tolerance' EP is expected later this year and features a quest appearance from renound pedal steel guitarist B.J. Cole who has worked with the likes of The Verve and Beck. You can catch Fear Of Folk in Whelans on Friday 1st of June supporting Bronagh Gallagher and at Knockanstockan Festival,  Blessington, Co. Wicklow July 27-29th.

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