Admiral Fallow – Tree Bursts In Snow


Artist: Admiral Fallow
Title: Tree Bursts In Snow
Label: Lo-Five/Nettwerk
Rating: 7.5

Scottish indie folk band Admiral Fallow are to release their second album on the 22nd of May. The Glasgow orchestral five-piece formed in 2007 and released their first album Boots Met My Face in the UK in March 2011.

The ten track album Tree Bursts In Snow was produced and mixed at Glasgow’s Chem 19 studios by Paul Savage (Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai, Teenage Fanclub), and mastered by Greg Calbi (Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, The National) at Sterling Sound in New York City. Admiral Fallows was founded by Louis Abbott and includes Kevin Brolly, Philip Hague, Sarah Hayes and Joseph Rattray.

“Tree Bursts” is a fairly lengthy opener at six minutes long. It’s sparse with light percussion, piano and flute and vocals passed between the two singers, Abbott and Hayes. They both ask; “We came here to ask, if you’ve stopped selling them?”. To end “It harps back to tree bursts in snow” they chime in together in which Abbott’s Scottish accent comes out the most.

“The Paper Trench” is a faster tune with quick guitar riffs repeated throughout, whilst “Beetle In the Box” is also filled with jerky, catchy guitar. Abbott and Hayes sing in harmony; ‘it’s the beetle in the box, that shakes in your hands and it’s filled up with feelings that I don’t understand”.

However it’s the slower tracks in touch with their folk influences that see Admiral Fallow shine. “Old Fools” is a sad, slow number with strings and simple compositions which make it very affecting. Abbott’s raw voice works well for the sound; “blow unlucky eyelashes and hide the stray hairs, should we just give up? take backward bounds and leaps” and, “Those old fools have got nothing on me”. In “Isn’t This World Enough??”, it seems the double question marks aren’t a typo – Admiral Fallow are simply asking the question twice as hard. The question, the piano, hand claps and chorus of voices give it an even deeper folk feel.

“Burn” was apparently called “Burn Me Now” but was changed for fears it would come across as too morbid, Abbott asked crowds at some shows in 2011 to name the song. In fact the lyrics expose the burning reference as a simile; “and oh the things I’ve done, burn me down like an ant with a magnifying glass”.

Closing track “Oh, Oscar” is a stripped back piece showcasing Abbott’s Scottish voice, complimented with soft guitar picking. The lyrics refer back to the album title in a form of conclusion; “Oh Oscar, like the tree burst in snow, all I wanted was to know if there’s anyone like me in this whole God damn country?”.Melancholy, perhaps, but Admiral Fallow have used these emotions and reflected upon them in another beautiful album.

Reviewed by Heather Welsh.

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