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General Fiasco: Unfaithfully Yours
Far from a fiasco these guys were reared
Edwin McFee, 31 Aug 2012
It’s been an interesting few years for Co. Derry’s General Fiasco. Having released arguably one of the north’s best ever singles in the shape of the wonderful guitar pop of ‘Ever So Shy’ – generating close to a million YouTube views with it – and performing on festival stages around Europe, the then trio (they’ve since added an extra member in the shape of guitarist/keyboardist Stuart Bell) subsequently struggled to capture people’s imaginations to the same degree with their 2010 debut Buildings.
Might they be too loud for the indie kids and not noisy enough for the rock scene? It was a curious conundrum because the music clearly deserved a bigger audience.
Second album Unfaithfully Yours goes a long way towards addressing that concern. It’s a massive sounding record that’s positively bursting at the seams with ambition. I can see it doing very well indeed.
The twitchy, “Vampire Weekend off their tits on sugar” sounds of ‘Gold Chains’ may or may not be the best possible opening salvo – I’ve yet to make up my mind! – but the boys really hit their stride on the brooding indie pop of ‘Brother Is’. And from there on, well, it’s a hook-heavy riot of hugely potent noise. Flashes of alt. country (‘The Bottom’) and more muscular rock (singer Owen Strathern sounds like he’s been saying his prayers and eating his vitamins on ‘The Age You Start Losing Friends’) pepper proceedings nicely. There is colour in the arrangements too, with the violin working extremely well on the striking ‘Hollows’.
The undisputed album highlight, however, is the piano-led, tear-stained threnody of ‘This Is Living’: its mix of Chris Martin-esque drama and haunting Cherry Ghost-like melody is both moving and redemptive. There are a few moments that miss the mark (let’s just say that ‘Don’t You Ever’ is not my favourite track) but for the most part, with Unfaithfully Yours, General Fiasco have come of age in style.