Friend Of All The World – Up These Branches
[tags: acoustic, folk, 2010]
Listen while reading:
Get ready for a sleeper from Canada, more exactly from Montréal/Quebec: Robert Cole, creating music under the moniker Friend Of All The World. His debut was released not so long ago and goes by the name of Up These Branches. Referring to the official website, it took one year and a half to record it – and the result is very pleasant and promising.
Up These Branches is just the right album if you want a bit of melancholic fall feeling, but with lots of colored leaves falling. The title track is a perfect example for this, because Robert’s voice is sort of modest and sad. The acoustic guitar melodies and the sparsely used strings are just the right companions to underline the atmosphere and the banjo plays his part mostly forgotten in the background together with the slight percussions. But the richness of the instrumentation bars the track from becoming dark and depressed. As I said, it’s more a fall full of colors, reflective but with perspective (rhyme not intended). And this I would also call the basic trend of all the other songs.
What is just great besides the autumnal overall character is the fact, that the music does not drift so much towards what I call indie folk and stays more folk orientated. The lack of indie-ness gives a more earthy feeling to all of the 9 compositions wherefore they sound more serious and just a good deal more folky (indeed…). More Than I Could Say and Under The Dome Of Night’s Sky represent this in a very good way and I think if, say the recently reviewed Prattle On, Rick would do covers of the songs, it would be in more indie folk orientated fashion (or to get the clearer picture, just think of the often on CFM mentioned Home EP by Benjamin Gibbard & Andrew Kenney, because this is the indie folk style this album does not sound like).
All together I have very little to complain about, because the album shows talent for song-writing, a good feeling for different melodies on different instruments, as well as the needful honesty coming from the musician’s heart. But one little detail is strange; I listened to the album many times over the last time and the tracks seem to fight back against staying in your head somehow. But I can’t tell you exactly why – maybe the single songs sound a bit too much the same at some points (compare Asleep For The Winter and Golden Days). But then I don’t think that the record is boring at any time or does really copy itself. So I can’t give you appropriate reasons for my feelings.
Up These Branches made me very excited to hear what comes from this band in the future, because I think that the next release could be a real killer if the sound mellows just a little bit more. Anyways, consider me as a fan from now on. If you are interested in the music too (and you should be!), you should check out Friend Of All The World’s homepage (where you can buy a copy of the album) and his MySpace for further information.