Fiel Garvie's new album picks up very nicely from its previous one, exploring a vein of reflective, melancholy, and stately rock & roll equal parts solo Nick Cave, Pulp and Tindersticks, to name just a few inspirations. But Fiel Garvie brings its own skills forward, not least of which is the singing ability of frontwoman Anne Reekie, and Caught Laughing benefits from it all. Reekie's practically a one-woman band given all the instruments she plays, but everyone plays their role deftly, whether it's Emma Corlett's brief keyboard line towards the end of "Estimate" or Greg MacDermott's measured, strong but never overpowering drums with his performance on "Daylight," a particular standout. The secret weapons of the band could arguably be Graham McGeoch on violin and Peter Harvey on cello, whose performances add further to the elegantly sorrowful air of the album in general. But it's the arrangements that make everything greater than the sum of its accomplished parts -- consider how "The Palace Lights" builds slowly but surely up to a dramatic instrumental conclusion, or how the piano and drums carry "All of You" instrumentally, resulting in a wonderfully unsettled arrangement for the guitars to slowly fade in on. "Airsong," at the center of the album, might be the most accomplished number, keyboards and guitar parts swooping through the verses like ghosts, while the wordless backing vocals suggest a slightly haunted take on the dreamy late-'60s pop of acts like the Association or the Free Design. While some might find the album too understated in the end, all one needs is to take the album's pace and sound on its own terms to enjoy it fully.
|Label:||Words On Music|