Fabulous Artisans - ...from red to blue Singles Collection

  by Anthony Middleton

published: 9 / 10 / 2008

Fabulous Artisans - ...from red to blue Singles Collection

Label: Bendi Records
Format: CD
Accomplished and timeless,intelligent pop music on collection of singles which won't appear on their soon-to-be released debut album from Scottish duo, the Fabulous Artisans


This is all a bit confusing. An album of singles from a forthcoming album, 'From Red to Blue', along with their B-sides, that won’t be on the album. The three singles began to be released over one month, starting with 'Return (Lord I Can’t)' on September 15, 'Sycamore Square' on September 29 and 'Say Hello To The Summer' on October 13. The album is released two weeks after that. But, you can then buy all the singles and b-sides collected together (which is what I have) at some point in the future. Hmmm. This is all a bit elaborate for an debut. Remember when it was considered bad form to release singles on albums ? But the songs are good. A collaboration between Scots Neil Crossan and Jeremy Thoms, this is timeless, intelligent pop music, aware of and in control of its influences. Crossan launches into 'Return (Lord I Can’t'), full throated and fully in control as guitars swirl around his strong melodic vocal. A bit Edward Collins and, given the lower register of the singing, Scott Walker, are present in spirit. Crossan, a former actor who in 1981 was in an Oscar winning short film, has a strong, clear voice that enunciates perfectly, though occasionally with a slightly irritating mid-Atlantic twang. 'Sycamore Square' is probably the most successful of the singles, a breezy, up-tempo portrait of urban life as told by through regretful recollection. Crossan, again full of gusto, comes in on the first beat, barely takes a breath and gives a performance worth of early Scott Walker. 'Say Hello to the Summer' could have been a calculated attempt at the charts, had it not been released in mid October. The B-sides, understandably are more playful, both musically and thematically. 'Mr Misery' sees a transformation in Crossan’s vocals; suddenly there’s a near Mockney accent singing what could be a Small Faces number, even early, chirpy Bowie. This fluttering around genres continues with 'Instamatic' when electronic, 80s pop takes over with cascading synths and a vocal that sounds half Human League, half Pet Shop Boys. This continues with 'Trust', which again recalls Phil Oakey’s golden years. Still in a demo format, Queen’s Park, is probably the most promising song here. Just backed by an electric guitar, Crossan delivers a more restrained, downbeat anthem. While Crossan’s vocals grab you by the lapels and demand your attention, he certainly has an unusual versatility, not far short of mimicry, as well. Thoms who largely wrote the songs, and performs most of the instruments, is obviously the driving force and hugely talented. If the album (not the singles collection you understand) 'Red to Blue' is as good as the best of this collection, and it ducks and dives around pop genres a bit less, it could be a great piece of serious, accomplished pop.

Track Listing:-

1 Return (Lord I Can't)
2 Sycamore Square
3 Say Hello To The Summer
4 Mr. Misery
5 Instamatic
6 Trust
7 The Last Days Of Spring (instrumental)
8 Queen's Park (demo)
9 Don't Cry Wolf (alternative mix)

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