Fred – Leaving My Empire
The first thing you notice about the fourth album from Fred is how much of a step up in quality it is. Go God Go their third, was fairly impressive, but was largely overlooked way back in 2008. However, Leaving My Empire is starting to get them noticed. And about time too.
Opener ‘If Not Now When’ is a huge, singalong triumph. The rest of the album continues this trend, of Elbow-aping crescendos (I would say Coldplay, but Guy Garvey seems to have taken Chris Martin’s place recently). ‘Villains’ is one of these mega-tracks, that could easily be heard soundtracking some uplifting summer advert. HB could come calling…
Fred can do soft and gentle too, as shown on the soothing ‘Somewhere Else’ and ‘Fears and Remedies’ are both splendid, atmospheric tracks, with the strings on the latter giving it a wonderful sound. ‘Stereoscope’ is one of the most ambitious songs the band have ever attempted, and the album is all the better for its inclusion. The floaty ‘Eleven’ is another triumph, as is the rocky closer ‘We are the City Now’.
It’s not a flawless masterpiece, songs such as ‘The Life Behind’ and ‘As You See’ and feel somewhat out of place, but overall it’s a pretty great album, and their best yet. This album is a lot of things, but mostly it’s fun. And ‘We are the City Now’ may be the best album closer of the year. Brilliant.