Fools Paradise isn't a band but rather a musical project between several well known North East musicians and lyricist Irving Graham. Revered producer/songwriter/musician Frankie Gibbon is the man mainly responsible for the musical content, playing most of the instruments and co-writing all the tracks but the upbeat nature of the music is in stark contrast to the dark, personal and biographical nature of the lyrics. It is not evident if the process of laying himself bare has been a cathartic experience but given the intensity of the lyrical content we can only hope that Graham has been able to lay some ghosts to rest.
With vocal duties spilt between Gibbon, Daisy Flockhart and Al Harrington, the album is given texture and variety with Harrington and Gibbon's vocals sharing the same world weariness with an almost spoken delivery while the fragility of Flockhart's soulful voice works perfectly on Curtain Of Cover and Jigsaw.
The darker nature of this album is never far away with tracks like the Dire Straits-esque Little White Lies touching on themes of domestic abuse and denial. A read of the accompanying lyric booklet reveals the epic title track, Fools Paradise, as a confessional where you almost feel guilty for being allowed to glimpse the disturbing side of someones life. Despite the nature of the lyrics, this is not a gloom laden record. Don't get me wrong, I doubt the Samaritans will be using it for their next tv advert but the vibe is similar to that of an album by Pink Floyd or the afore mentioned Dire Straits. If you are not convinced then we do get a song of hope in the shape of the wonderful Sonshine. A fathers open letter to his son that is full of optimism and aspiration and is genuinely quite touching.
This album works on a couple of levels. You can simply just enjoy it as good music or delve deeper and uncover an insight into a troubled soul that looks like it may have finally found peace.