A twisted journey
Admiral Fallow - Live At The Harley, Sheffield

For a few years a scene has been bubbling away in Scotland. Folk songs ring from the valleys as the likes of Broken Records and The Twilight Sad dash around the UK with wind instruments and unworldly lyrics.

Admiral Fallow are the latest to this gang, although they have already received niche success with their debut album. Now they’re embarking on a smaller tour – a warm up to the release of ‘Tree Bursts in Snow’. Packing onto the small Harley stage the room is littered with a selection of unusual instruments, creating a strange mix of woodwind and electric guitars. In the wrong hands this mixture could be disastrous but for Admiral Fallow each arrangement creates a beautiful blend of old and new.

Highlighting tracks from their latest offering many songs take a twisted journey. Go for a drink and the same song has transformed into an entirely different beast. Lead singer Louis Abbott’s Scottish twang resonates through the soft guitar melodies, with each track building into a mix of polyrhythms and counter melodies.

Yet sometimes the twisting melodies become exhausting. There’s barely a minute to grasp a song before it chops and changes again several times before the final chord. For the best part, each aspect quickly comes together to create an interesting blend of contrasting elements but occasionally the mix is a little off kilter. ‘Old Fools’ is an uneasy melody while ‘Tree Bursts’ is an overlong, atmospheric epic. As the room falls silent the performance is possibly too ridged, as the audience stand emotionless, letting the atmospheric rhythms wash over them. In danger of becoming a little too heavy, the band opts for audience participation for ‘Isn’t This World Enough?’ highlighting the sheer enthusiasm of their fans. As they join together, talking about the various dates on the tour, it’s clear Admiral Fallow have a growing folk fanbase like no other Scottish band.

They may be following hot on the trails of other Scottish groups but there’s something resonating about Admiral Fallow. Their songs are uniquely interesting and with fans willing to travel miles to watch them perform, it’s clear they are not just riding on coat tails.

Words by Ruth Offord
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