Organic, acoustic, folk-esque instrumentation and heart warming harmonies a-plenty – Megg Farrell’s album Fear Nothing is a total joy to embrace on a rainy weekend. Mr Montgomery kicks things off, structurally progressing from delicacy to upbeat vibrancy in an immediately infectious way. The rhythm and good vibes of the whole arrangement and performance will remind you of the wonderful things in life.
Mr Montgomery sets the bar extremely high, and there’s a brief concern that it may all be downhill from here on in. What comes next, however, is something that contrasts beautifully with the style and energy of that opener. La Seine is a softly hypnotic piece of music and writing that is so honest and vulnerable sounding that you can’t help but listen to every word. Even with the introductory simplicity, the arrangement of the song is superb – things evolve in a wonderfully ambient and lightly intense manner. The introduction of a male counterpart furthers that use of contrast and again helps offer something unquestionably enjoyable and brilliantly easy to love.
Throughout this project the essence of folk story telling and organic musicianship is something that shines with beautiful brightness. The songwriting raises the collection even higher, and Megg Farrell’s unique vocal tone and performance style add the final touch of strength. The River takes things in a more Laura Marling direction than the likes of the previously considered Mumford and Sons or The Lumineers. All in all, this modern or alt-folk approach is comforting – familiar yet fresh. The further you get into Fear Nothing, the stronger the pure identity of the Megg Farrell sound becomes.
The structure of these songs is stunning, each track is crafted with a careful consideration for the emotion or drama of the subject matter. Drunk In The Style Of Descartes is a grand example. The music stops and starts intermittently, weighing in artistically on the point within the story or the momentary passion of the leading vocalist. The tightness between band members is on point, the chemistry shows itself to be close to invincible here. The energy is sky high, then it falls away, then it smashes back into action – the rhythm is theatrical and consistently interesting, as well as being the sort that simply makes you want to get up and do something; dance, maybe – or drink a lot, and then dance.
The mellow acoustic mood returns with The Hammer. Megg’s leading voice is laid bare, an easy going performance style characterfully delivers the song and its sentiment. The lyrical poetry is gorgeously presented, and once again the story holds you captive. Songs like this take you somewhere else entirely, back to a simpler time, or over to the other side of the world, in some dusty Western bar.
She Moved Through The Fair takes on a completely new style once again. The use of space works well, the instrumentation brings about a feeling of distant electricity as the classic or traditional folk melody works its magic.
The lightness of classic folk-pop comes through with Sins Of September, though as has come to be expected – the soundscape develops immensely later on. A certain uplifting warmth accompanies a quickly memorable melody and a bright, vibrant array of instrumentation. This one is a definite personal highlight – something about the set up of the melody and the arrangement of the musical details works perfectly. Sombrero follows on strongly, the precise point within the project at which you move on from wondering about a live show to actually browsing for anything local to you.
The album comes to a close with the reflective and notably artistic Holding My Breath. The concept is one that could be widely accessible, though it appears as something incredibly personal, and this reminds you of the people behind the poetry. The set-up, the melody, the harmonies, the simple progression of the chorus – the song has a certain openness and mood that reaches out in a much more emotionally connecting way than perhaps the more energetic songs do. It’s a great way to finish, it changes the way you receive the entire album, so the next time you listen over – which you almost certainly will – the songs seem that much closer to you. Fear Nothing is a stunning collection, an absolute pleasure to have playing.