Back with another bold display of originality and a surprisingly poignant, topically relevant concept album. Rasmus Fynbo’s The Greater Good brings together a plethora of impressive, experienced musicians, to stylishly blend addictive melodies, colourful Gypsy-folk soundscapes, and profoundly provocative, thoughtful storylines.
The circus-like energy and brightness of Whisper, complete with its contrastingly gloomy look at life at the prospect of tomorrow, makes for a fiery, energising yet hauntingly melancholic introduction. A quickly memorable song, brilliantly arranged and crafted, with a hook that echoes in the mind far longer than the average offering.
As per the album’s artwork, this aura inspired by the likes of The Cat Empire, continues throughout. The Freedom To keeps the horns and rhythms alive, while Rasmus again draws upon all of us at once – this is a song directed at you, and me; and them. Poetic vagueness and blatant references unite to hit with unquestionable impact.
Everybody wants that freedom to finish off man
And burn down the planet
Everybody wants that freedom to shit in the nest
To decide what is best for all the rest
Repeat brings a sudden moment of musical seduction, changing the mood, leaning towards a Be Prepared kind of dark swagger initially. It then progresses through its bass-led, alt-folk chorus in a powerful way. The lyrics are superb, perhaps the first that take a second listen to really capture the moment and the underlying idea. Musically brilliant, conceptually striking – a personal favourite.
There’s a pattern to everything you see
History is growing like the rings of a tree
The future is changing
The things we hold dear are now slipping away
The future is changing
Faces of loved ones falls into decay
The heartbreaking A War settles the score with the sadness of folk – an acoustic set-up, strings and Americana riffs, with a gorgeous, raspy and emotive leading vocal; descending in melody and in sentimental optimism.
Children of the Sand then takes the country riff work a little further. A similarly melancholic melody and story-line proceed to captivate right through to the end. This is powerful, immersive writing and composing, fusing delicacy and absolute passion, even desperation, in a manner that’s rightfully impossible to ignore. What an anthem of heartache and united struggle is the hook.
Softness returns for a sleepy and equally heartbreaking, deeply poetic Breathe. Then you get the rhythmically engaging, hypnotic short rhymes and compelling ideas of Shadows. An alt-folk masterpiece, featuring a superb use of contrast between both the instrumentation and the statements made from verse to hook.
But don’t you scare easily
Know that your dreams will set you free
Free from the shadows
Do you know what we become, when our humanity is gone? The Blind Eye pours through with simple, entrancing melodies and ideas. A sensational musical set-up, whose Balkan aura again transcends the recorded space and welcomes you right into the centre of the performance.
A 21-year old hit of songwriting in the form of The Mayfly keeps the mood on point yet introduces a new leading vocalist. Michelle Foster’s effortlessly smooth delivery adds a whole new sense of vastness and dynamic to the collection – reinforcing the us, the everyone, of the whole. Another poetically thoughtful song that begs for you to listen more than a few times over.
Become No One prepares you for the ultimate end with a spacious, minimalist introduction, simple flickers of thought and melody, and a mighty build-up to the impending, overwhelming weight of nothingness. A defiant highlight for how subtly alternative this melody, progression, and the framing of this concept truly are. The song weaves its web with ease, that hook repeating and wrapping its revealing, painful truths around you. A personal favourite, this fusion of subtlety and transparency is mighty, and the musical strengths stand tall with impeccable confidence. A great way to go out, and a song I’ve already played an immeasurable number of times this week.
From the climate to social justice, history, health, war, refugees, pointlessness, by way of undeniable musical prowess and lashings of addictive, memorable melodies – this album lays out our situation as a species in plain view. The fires we can see, smell, feel – the illnesses, the wars, the threats, the fear – The Greater Good loudly and unequivocally encapsulates the stark juxtaposition between all that has been, and all that is now. Rather than simply preach it to the listener though, in an outraged and overly familiar fashion, Rasmus takes to this process in a beautifully artistic, musically sensational manner; making the promise of a live performance categorically something worth experiencing. Fantastic, a favourite release for the year so far.
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