It's quite unusual to find an album that is the result of, in effect, a research project. What a bonus when the music has a mysterious and compelling quality (although we partly guessed as much based on the band's fine eponymous EP of last year). The research in question, by singer Mark Kluzek, focuses on early Australian history and reveals harrowing tales of death and delinquency in the inhospitable tropics and on the high seas. The tales of various miscreants and misfortunates are recounted against a suitable backdrop of folk laments and dirges (violin and accordion are prominent throughout). In fact, the strength of the stories suggests a theatrical setting. Fedicia Exine deserves special mention, a song about "the little-known daughter of a convict" deported to Van Diemen's Land for murder. It contains a heartstopping moment a few minutes in when the drones drop out momentarily to be replaced by a light, airy folk tune on guitar, only for the narrator to re-enter and continue the tragic tale. Dramatic and heartrending.
Will ever pray album trailer
The Doomed Bird of Providence - Fedicia Exine by frontandfollow
In other very interesting news, Front & Follow are also releasing a series of commissioned remixes of the aforementioned Fedicia Exine, The Fedicia Exine Remixes, by Zoon van Snook, Mark Beazley (ex-Rothko) and I am a Vowel, among others. The standout for me is the Position Normal remix, which has a ghostly, and completely appropriate, deep-sea atmosphere. It's transformative stuff overall, drawing several extra layers of meaning from the original, and is an essential accompaniment to the album.
The Fedicia Exine Remixes by frontandfollow