Fatherson release their third album, ‘Sum of All Your Parts’, on 14 September. A festival favourite at the likes of 2000 Trees and T in the Park, their brand of anthemic indie-rock has won the Scots a huge army of fans and on this record they promise a different kind of sound while retaining the heart that’s made them so popular with so many…
Slow piano and subtle guitar effects indicate the start of the album opener ‘The Rain’. Ross Leighton sings about how ‘You sleep in the exit rows. When there is a problem, you’ll be the first to know’ as brooding bass comes in and as the urgency ramps up, he pleads with the subject to ‘call me when you need it done’. Following this is the recent single ‘Making Waves’, an altogether more sparse song that has Ross recalling fond memories of bonding with ‘the girl down the street’, while ‘Gratitude’ opens with a stop-start riff that manages to combine Biffy’s more melodic moments with the indie-pop stylings of Orange Juice. The lyrics, however, are full of sadness and self-awareness: ‘I think I’d call myself a lost cause. I’ll slow-dance you with a lost cause. Talk to me in the dark’. This examination of Ross’ behaviour is referred to over an over again on the album, none more so than on ‘Reflection’: ‘I’ll try and call you tomorrow but you know what I’m like’; ‘Saw you leave in a hurry, was it something I said?’
We can hear elements of The Twilight Sad on some of the record’s more intense moments, no more so than on ‘Nothing to No One’ – a raw track full of thumping bass and drums and sad guitars with lyrics to match: ‘We haven’t talked in months’ – and the industrial ‘Building a Wall’. ‘Oh Yes’ is full of emotion as Ross clings on to the hope of a failing relationship: ‘I don’t want to lose you but you’re making it hard, so hard. With nothing to cling to, you’re out on your own’ before blasting out a made-for-festivals chorus and then a spoken-word nod to Idlewild’s ‘Scottish Fiction’.
‘Berlin’ finds the band in respective style. With a DIY feel in its production and the same kind of powerful vocal that serves Luke Sital-Singh so well, it finds Ross pondering what it means that it’s taken him five day to lift someone’s dress from the floor and then opening his heart on the complexities of modern life: ‘I watch you turn from red to green. But I still don’t know what love means’.
‘Sum of All Your Parts is a record that finds Fatherson taking a leap forward in sound and scope and the heart-on-your-sleeve honesty cannot fail to gain them even more fans. It’s a rewarding record you’ll want to return to.