Fyfe Dangerfield – Fly Yellow Moon (Polydor) 18/01/10

January 15, 2010 by  

It’s very difficult to predict exactly what’s in store with a debut album from Fyfe Dangerfield as he seems able to turn in any musical direction in a multitude of projects, from avant-garde pop to choral composition to free jazz. With, ‘Fly Yellow Moon’ he’s chosen to keep things simple and presents us with a straightforward collection of heartfelt pieces studded with uplifting pop songs.

The jaunty opener, ‘When You Walk in the Room’ waves a cheery ‘hello’. It’s punchy, distorted vocal on the verses morphs into Dangerfield’s uplifting falsetto for the chorus. This sense of optimism permeates the whole album, and even its darker moments you can still hear the silver lining.
Occasionally though this optimism borders on the clichéd, possibly because lyrically it’s very direct, for example in the refrain, ‘I wanna be near you all day, don’t go away’, on ‘Barricades’. However, Dangerfield’s delivery just about manages to keep things in ‘charming’ territory – his sincerity carries the album through its sugary moments whilst leaving its integrity intact.

The second half of the album features sure-fire single ‘Faster than the Setting Sun’ and current single ‘She Needs Me’, both sporting heavier production but really benefiting from it. These are the songs which wake you up a bit as the end of the album falls a little flat. ‘Don’t Be Shy’ has a beautiful melody but feels just a little too subdued (although it could come into its own in a live performance), and ‘Any Direction’ is possibly the weakest track on the album and not a great closer, it’s one-line hook sounding a little too repetitive as it fades.

This album lacks the unquantifiable magic dust that made Fyfe’s earlier (pre ‘Red’) work with Guillemots so captivating, and lyrically it feels a bit run-of-the-mill in places. However, the pared-down production on most of the tracks allows Dangerfield’s melodies to whisper in your ear rather than shout above the cacophony which is refreshing, and vocally he has never sounded better; exercising an emotional range that takes you from the whimsical to the ecstatic (sometimes in the same breath). .

[rating:3]

Angela Slater


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