The toast of 2011's South By Southwest festival (tipped in advance by NPR's influential All Songs Considered; ranked as a highlight by US indie bible Paste magazine), Scotland's Admiral Fallow continue their seemingly unstoppable mission to capture hearts and minds. They steal the former with beautiful melodies, sumptuous orchestration and bittersweet boy/girl vocals, while unforgettably colonising the latter thanks to lead singer/guitarist Louis Abbott's exquisitely observed, hauntingly candid lyrics.
Completed by fellow vocalist Sarah Hayes (also flute, piano), Kevin Brolly (clarinet, keyboards, backing vocals), Joe Rattray (bass, double bass, backing vocals) and Philip Hague (drums, vibraphone, backing vocals), Admiral Fallow's richly distinctive mesh of acoustic and electric textures with multilayered harmonies has gained a fast-expanding fanbase either side of the Pond, prominently including Guillemots' Fyfe Dangerfield, Elbow's Guy Garvey, Radio 1's Huw Stephens and BBC2's 'Whispering' Bob Harris.
Having met while studying at university in Glasgow, Admiral Fallow formed in 2007 (as the Brother Louis Collective: the name-change came in early 2010), through a shared love of such left-field luminaries as Tom Waits, Low, Midlake, Elbow, King Creosote and Bruce Springsteen – all filtered through Abbott's unflinchingly personal, resolutely Scottish sensibility. He says of debut album Boots Met My Face, released worldwide in 2011, that it “documents the first chapter of my life, be it memories from school or kicking a ball about with my childhood chums,” he continues: “All of the songs are taken from real life events. There's no fiction. I'm not into making up stories or characters for the sake of trying to stir emotions. They are songs about friends and family as well as a fair bit of self-evaluation.”
Among the band's early successes were opening for the aforementioned Guillemots, winning a coveted Your Sound award at legendary Glasgow venue King Tuts, and extensive airplay for debut single 'These Barren Years', on Euphonios Records. After headlining the T Break Stage at T in the Park, they were crowned as Under the Radar act of 2009 by the Scotsman newspaper, having meanwhile recorded Boots Met My Face at Glasgow's Chem 19 studio, with award-winning producer Paul Savage (Delgados, Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai) at the controls. Guests on the album included Frightened Rabbit's Gordon Skene and Kettle of Kites' Tom Stearn, plus a string trio and a five-piece horn section. Despite an initially low-key Scottish release in March 2010, it was picked up as Album of the Week by the Daily Record and Sunday Mail, while the live buzz continued to build via festival dates at the Fence Collective's Home Game, RockNess, the Insider and a return visit to T in the Park, plus further radio and TV exposure.
As well as support slots with the Futureheads, Paolo Nutini, King Creosote, the Felice Brothers and Frightened Rabbit, highlights among their own headline gigs included a triumphant London show in September, of which editor Paul Kramer wrote in The Hit Sheet: “The award for the best of the new acts we have seen perform recently goes to Admiral Fallow. Their excellent set at the Lexington had publishers and A&R out in force. We expect them to be huge. Led by the engaging and captivating future star that is frontman Louis Abbott, they will soon have the world at their feet.”
After more UK touring in early 2011, March saw Admiral Fallow's maiden voyage Stateside, which took in no less than seven stellar performances at South by Southwest, as well as New York and Boston showcases. Later that month, the UK-wide release of Boots Met My Face (followed by its worldwide launch in June) garnered a fresh round of glowing reviews,ahead of the band's busiest summer yet, with appearances at The Great Escape, Glastonbury, Latitude, Cambridge Folk Festival, Belladrum, Green Man, End of the Road, Loopallu, Sligo Live and Crossing Border in Holland, 19 November The band are also headlining 3 Scottish Festivals - Reloaded in Stirling 30 September, Aberfeldy Festival, curated by Ian Rankin, on 05 November and at the Glasgow ABC 1 for Celtic Connections on 27 January 2012.
As the band continue to attract admiring comparisons to Arcade Fire and Frightened Rabbit, while forging a sound that brims with originality, now is the time to catch them - before they're huge.
'Devastatingly downtrodden and wonderfully uplifting. . . surprising and enthralling. . . finely crafted material played superbly well.' (Mike Diver, BBC Album Reviews Editor)
'Anthemic yet understated. Big and bold, but avoiding theatrical cheese. Every note serves a purpose and has its place, nothing is wasted and nothing is missed.' (Music-News.com)
'The perfect musical storm: depth, strength of feeling and technical skill in one sublime package.' (Stereokill.net)
'A veritable masterclass in dark-hued yet uplifting, catchily literate roots-pop.' (The Herald)
'So good, so dark, so beautiful' (Daniel P. Carter, BBC Radio 1)
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