We like Andy White here at Music Critc HQ but his new musical partner Stephen Fearing is a new name to us. White an Irish troubadour with a punk ethic that through the years has acquired an Americana sound while Fearing is a rootsy country singer with an embellished reputation in his native Canada. The resulting album is a mixed bag of Americana and rock that is at times stunning and at others frustratingly incoherent.
Album opener Say You Will feels like a warm up jam that somehow made it onto the record and no one noticed. It is not until 3 tracks in that things take an interesting turn with the brilliant Mothership. The muted bass and multi layered vocal interaction really sets this track apart from the boredom that proceeded it. The bittersweet pop of What We Know Now brings to mind the twee pop eccentricities of Edwyn Collins and makes both guys sound far more at home with their partnership.
Contender for stand out track is the gritty blues of Under The Silver Sky with some nifty guitar playing courtesy of Fearing and a twin vocal attack that highlights the distinct differences in the guys voices. They both have a very different vocal approach but somewhere in the world of Fearing & White it just works. It is however the sumptuous Heaven For A Lonely Man that nudges it in the stand out stakes. The chiming guitars and textured vocals combine in a blissful union that casts a hypnotic spell.
October Lies seems to have been lifted from the Noel Gallagher book of how to rip of other bands as it sounds uncannily like Half The World Away (the theme from The Royle Family). I wanted to like this album a lot more than I do but much of it seems thrown together and rushed. The sum of the combined talents should have produced a record far better than this and I kind of feel let down. With the odd exception this is a pretty unremarkable record that is unlikely to help either Fearing or White increase their fan base.