The Fernweh - The Fernweh - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Fernweh - The Fernweh

by Bill Golembeski Rating:10 Release Date:2018-11-30
The Fernweh - The Fernweh
The Fernweh - The Fernweh

The Fernweh’s debut album is a wonderful and very modern concoction of folk-rock with a psych chaser.

Now, for the old guard who were there during (what my friend, Kilda Defnut, calls) The First Vinyl Age, I will simply quote Peter Gabriel as he sang, “It’s one o’ clock and time for lunch, bum de dum de dum.” Of course, that’s the opening monologue for “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe),” a tune that captures the quirky and highly eccentric British take on rock music. But don’t worry, this is not big epic prog stuff. However, the music, indeed, touches the autumnal folky moods of Genesis songs such as “Dusk,” “Seven Stones,” “Happy the Man,” and “Harlequin.”

Well, the brief first song, Afternoon Nap,” is all acoustic guitar and spoken vocal, and it does, indeed, conjure the wimpy dreams of marmite and a Tetley tea under a Staffordshire sunshade. Gary Brooker’s “Life is like a beanstalk” intro to Procol Harum’s “Glimpses of Nirvana” comes to mind.

And “Brightening in the West” ventures into the album proper with up-tempo folk rock which ebbs (quite quickly) and flows with an acoustic and electric guitar that echoes the work of Steve Hackett, circa Please Don’t Touch. And “Dressing Up the Box” gets (sort of) jazzy with a sax solo which is shadowed by a grungy guitar bit.

“Hand Me Down” is pure folk. It reminds me of Bert Jansch who painted quiet guitar-perfect portraits of the folk people of Britain. It’s a lovely tune.

“Is This Man Bothering You?” is late Sixties rock with a psychedelic vibe. It could almost be an out-take from The Pretty Things’ S.F. Sorrow sessions.  And ditto for the Sixties’ keyboard-driven “Leaf Didn’t Move,” which rekindles the urge for a sax solo. And, “Next Time Around” has the beauty of an early Al Stewart song.

“Little Monsters” is a multi-part rather complex song that begins with a fragile acoustic bit, and then is punctuated by a very Richard Thompson-like guitar burst that jolts the memory of “A Sailor’s Tale,” replete with the violin work of Mirabelle Gilis. The song “The Liar” also rocks with that wild and profound Fairport RT Strat sound.

Now, for all the young people who are not exactly agog by my referencing 70’s folk bands like Magna Carta, Heron, Dando Shaft, or Trees (all of whom send a tendril or two into the veins of these tunes), there is quite a bit to love about this album with its very acoustic and melodic edge. You know, the before-mentioned Richard Thompson in his Fairport Convention song “Meet on the Ledge” simply said, “If you really mean it, it all comes around again.”

That’s the ethos of this album: The band “really means it,” and the music is great enough to “all come around again.” Thomas Hardy said the same thing as he touched sad tradition in his very human novels. And that’s just the point: This is all very human music. And, believe me, all those 80’s bands like Flock of Seagulls, Kajagoogoo, Thompson Twins, and (heaven forbid!) The Pet Shop Boys really had me worried way back then. But this is the real deal for all of us from the old guard, who still love the earthy, melodic, and sometimes exotic vinyl vibrations from our youth. And now, thank goodness, this is the equally real deal for all the young ears who crave melody, autumnal folk, acoustic sounds, and well, the occasional (and very wonderful) sax solo.

So, yeah, thank you Jamie, Ned, Austin (and assorted friends) for this lovely and very British record.

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