This month sees Kilmarnock’s indie-rock trio Fatherson return with their third full length album, “Sum Of All Your Parts”. This new album is certainly the culmination of the last 4 years and a natural progression from its predecessors. The album manages to perfectly capture and blend the key elements of both 2014’s ‘I Am an Island’ and 2016’s ‘Open Book’, whilst still pushing the bands song-writing capabilities and allowing the album to exist in its own space.
Opening track ‘The Rain’ is a perfectly exemplifies the sound of the album. With the opening sequence consisting of a simple looped piano motif and singer Ross Leighton’s , it feels familiar. It reminds me of the opening of ‘I Am and Island’, which is comprised of Leighton’s vocals and a guitar. Whilst the use of the piano motif and the production move the sound in a new direction, which could be compared to a Frank Ocean track. However, once Mark’s bassline kicks in, it’s quintessential Fatherson. The song is then developed into something which feels much more anthemic, with a huge chorus that wouldn’t be out of place on ‘Open Book’.
This anthemic, punchy sound is upkept throughout the album within songs like ‘Gratitude’, ‘The Landscape’, ‘Ghost’ and singles ‘Making Waves’ and ‘Charm School’. Their production is big and the vocals are bigger. These songs show off the bands capability to write gripping hooks, punchy riffs and generally stadium worthy tracks. The first single off the album ‘Making Waves’ is an attention grabbing rock ballad. The blend of vulnerability of lyrics within the heart-felt introduction to the anthemic, arena-worthy chorus, it makes a real poignant impact – this is certainly a common theme across the album. Second single ‘Charm School’ is also one of the highlights of the album. With a good dose of distortion and a playful, bouncy melody and a catchy hook, this track is a real fun moment on the album.
For all the anthemic, big sounding moments, there are also plenty ‘heart on your sleeve’, raw moments across the album with songs ‘Nothing to No One’, ‘Oh Yes’ and ‘Reflections’. If you have listened to Fatherson before, you will know they are no stranger to showing emotion and vulnerability and this is sometimes where I feel they excel. ‘Nothing to No One’, a song documenting the breakdown of a relationship, is a very special moment on the album. The track features guest vocal’s from Bryde’s Sarah Howell, which elevate the track into a completely new space. The blend of Leighton and Howell’s vocals, bouncing off and then interacting with one another is almost haunting. The dynamics of this track feel like a straight development from debut ‘I Am an Island’. This is Leighton at his rawest and it’s a true standout track on the album.
Album closer, ‘Building a Wall’ is something completely different for Fatherson. The track really pushes the production aspect of song writing, being compromised of a series of loops and uses a variety of studio technique. It really alters the band’s sound – but in a very interesting and creative way, questioning their approach to song crafting – whilst still fitting the Fatherson ‘mould’. The song closes the album perfectly as it is a culmination of both old and new.
The album is a triumphant success, picking up where its two predecessors left off and blending the best elements from each, whilst still moving forward and taking on its own identity and sound.
Catch the band at their upcoming ‘Release Week Intimate Shows and Instores’ and UK and European Tour later on this year, with a stop at the famous Barrowland’s Ballroom.
By Nathan Matheson