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Dodson and Fogg - After the Fall

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 14 / 6 / 2014

Dodson and Fogg - After the Fall
Label: Wisdom Twin Records
Format: CD


Breathtaking 60's and 70's-influenced psychedelia/folk pop on fifth album in two years from Dodson and Fogg, the project of singer -songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chris Wade

At last after five months of waiting Chris Wade has finally got out of bed and released his fifth full-length album in two years under his Dodson & Fogg alias. What has kept you, Chris? We’ve banged on about how Wade is one of our most underrated, prolific (really?) and talented musicians ever since his first album under the Dodson & Fogg banner came our way in 2012; Wade took elements of 60's and 70's folk/psych/pop and created dreamy soundscapes that actually did take the listener to faraway places. There was an ethereal quality to all of his music; it just drew you in. Producing five albums in such a short time the worry is that maybe Wade has already peaked. I’m unsure if Wade has a backlog of songs to draw from or if he is constantly writing and releasing his work as soon as he records it. The truth is that, once again, Wade, while not deserting the sound he has perfected over his previous albums, has delivered another dozen tracks that take his vision just that little bit further. Wade has a knack of making every Dodson & Fogg album sound just a little removed from the previous one. No radical changes to his overall sound are made, but still after five albums all rooted in the same soil Wade with ‘After the Fall’ has made further steps with his music. With every Dodson & Fogg album that comes along, you feel that it just about has the edge over the previous one and, although at the time it was felt that its predecessor ‘The Call’ couldn’t be bettered, ‘After the Fall’ is now officially the best Dodson & Fogg album. Until the next one. We’ll give him to the end of the year. As usual Wade has the help of a number of respected musicians to cover the parts that multi-instrumentalist Wade didn’t supply himself. There are welcome returns from Ricky Romain on sitar and both Celia Humphris (Trees) and Alison O’Donnell (Mellow Candle) help out vocally once more. The violin on opening song ‘You’re an Island’ is courtesy of Scarlet Rivera, which, considering the fact that she played the same instrument on this writer’s favourite Bob Dylan song, is worth the price of admission alone for me at least. It’s telling that Wade can attract such respected musicians, especially as the Dodson & Fogg albums are released on his own Wisdom Twins label and not a faceless major. So to the songs and once again Wade has created a collection that flows so seamlessly together; it’s not that all the tracks are an extension of just one theme but they all hang together beautifully. It’s taken five albums to get here, and those psych/folk influences still colour each and every one of these dozen songs. Early Floyd and Bolan again come to mind but somehow as soon as you hear the first song, ‘You’re An Island’, you are in no doubt that it’s Wade. For an artist who wears his influences proudly, Wade has still forged a sound that is his very own. In spite of those famous friends helping out (and Scarlet Rivera’s violin playing still has that magic, around the campfire quality that actually brought out the best in Dylan’s ‘Desire’), it’s still Wade’s world-worn, sleepy vocals and his incredible guitar work that bring his already impressive songs to life. We’ve touched upon Wade’s guitar skills in previous reviews, but simply have to repeat here that Wade must be one of the most underrated guitar players of this generation; he has a fluid style of playing that many of his contemporaries just can’t match and he steers clear of unnecessary solos. Wade’s guitar work boosts what are already breathtakingly beautiful melodies, making them even more irresistible. Wade actually captures the best of those two totally differing types of psychedelia; the wonders of the Edward Lear/Lewis Carroll toytown strain that was popular in Britain, and that curious sound from across the water that evolved from starker, jug-band/country sounds which also eventually mutated into psychedelia. It’s a hybrid that many have tried and failed to capture. Wade simply nails it, which is why on ‘After the Fall’ he should finally be recognised as creating a sound of his very own. This Wade shows to perfection on songs like ‘Just Wondering’, a ghostly take on acid folk made even more chilling by Alison O’Donnell’s haunting vocals before Wade lets loose on a coda made of his searing guitar work recalling any one of your favourite late 60's/early 70's rock bands. Wade also shows his love of 70's rock in ‘Lord Above’, where he mixes elements of glam rock, a little heavy metal and a smidgen of Crazy Horse to the psychedelic stew that he seems to create with such ease. ‘Careless Man’ is where Wade leaves his dreamy folk-based psychedelia behind, and introduces us to the edgier American take on psych. The fact that there is more Crazy Horse/Neil Young guitar featured on this song just leaves the listener wondering once more just how long is it going to be before Wade’s guitar playing is given all the accolades it so rightly deserves. We say it every time but it’s true, Wade has once again made the best album of his career…so far. There are not so many artists who can lay claim to that fact. Linzi Napier once again supplies the artwork for both the cover and the CD, which as usual compliment the music wonderfully and deserves a special mention. According to Wade, there have been a fair number of outtakes from the previous four Dodson & Fogg albums that didn’t make the final cut due to various reasons. Wade has collected eleven outtakes from the 'After the Fall' sessions and released them as a limited edition of 100 CD copies. While Wade obviously has his reasons why these songs didn’t make the official album ,it certainly wasn’t because they were not up to his usual standard. While it’s understandable why Wade might leave off a song such as ‘Stars Are Out Tonight’ as it possibly might interrupt the flow of ‘After the Fall’, any song that displays Wade’s love of the Kinks tinged with a slight jazz vibe should be given a full release. On the other side tracks such as ‘Out in the Fields’ which combine Wade’s folk and psychedelia perfectly and feature his outstanding guitar work would, this writer feels anyway, been a perfect addition to ‘After The Fall’. And no, even though it could be argued that the song is divided into at least three separate parts, that maybe should have stayed that way. It shows how versatile and creative Wade is. It would be a highpoint on any other album, not tucked away on a disc of outtakes. If you’ve already been smitten by Dodson & Fogg then go for the limited edition package including the outtakes. You won’t be disappointed. It’s been obvious ever since the self-titled ‘Dodson & Fogg’ debut that Wade is an innovative, passionate and exceptional musician. Yet after five albums he still surprises. He's a national treasure, and it’s about time the rest of the country realised this.

Track Listing:-
1 You're an Island
2 Sweet Lily Rose
3 In Your Own Fine Way
4 Lord Above
5 Here in the Night
6 Life's Life
7 Bring Me Back
8 Careless Man
9 Must Be Going Crazy
10 Hiding from the Light
11 Just Wondering
12 After the Fall

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