Fionn Kay-Lavelle | Clinch Mountain
Family Average: 4.5/7
Welcome back everybody. We have here a special entry from across the pond. Thats right, its Fionn Kay-Lavelle from the UK. This fella makes sounds with a variety of things including guitars, pianos, drums, and even that special instrument known to some as a "voice". Did his misty somber tunes woo the family? Only our reviews will tell.
Listen along on Fionn's Bandcamp as you check out what we had to say:
Harmonies, instrumentals, layering, spot on production, this album has so much to offer! As lovely as their harmonies were, I almost liked listening to the instrumentals more. However, once you factor in the lyrics that changes. "3 diamonds", if I had to pick would be my favorite track. The instruments are kind of talking back and forth here. My only suggestion would be to change tempo now and then. The songs, although engaging, did begin to sound too familiar.
I officially listened to the album so many times that bandcamp will not let me listen to it any more without paying for it. I can’t exactly say why the number reached such levels, I kept coming back to it looking for something I missed. Like that feeling you get when you walk through a dense museum chock full of neat, weird old stuff to look at. Each time you are bound to get something new out of it, and the same could be said for this album. I especially enjoyed how through each of the songs the album swells and relaxes. It shows a great deal of control and a good temperament making it the perfect doodle music for me...which is what I was doing while I had my first listen.
I think it's safe to say that I enjoyed this album. A lot of things here sounded very crisp and refined; you can tell that the man behind the music is very comfortable with his voice/guitar and rightly so! Am I upset that the album never really attempted to surprise me? That it seemed to lay some groundwork with the initial songs and its fatal flaw was never attempting to push his limits? Did it seem that some of his talent was squandered by following some sort of paradigm? I don't know.
Do I think I have a drinking problem? Yes, I do.
I couldn't really get into this album. I think I get what he's trying to do, but it just didn't work for me. The instrumental songs were not interesting enough musically to keep me interested in them, and the other songs were okay but not super exciting, except maybe for the title song "Clinch Mountain" (part I and II). The plus side for me was some really cool vocal harmonies. Thank god folk artists have realized that you can't just whisper in the mic while strumming two chords on an out-of-tune guitar anymore. Good harmonies are the best way to make anything sound more interesting musically.
I got to say, this is not my favorite type of music, and my opinion got even more biased as soon as I listened to the first song "Moon Forest", which almost pissed me off. Dude, if you're going to open your album with an instrumental, it's got to be amazing. You can't go with two chords, a bit of reverb, some cymbal rolls, and hope that's enough to create a great atmospheric chill indie sound like Bonobo. I don't know why it got me so worked up, but it did, and I listened to the rest of the album with a negative mindset. It made me feel like maybe I should give it another listen, which I did, but I pretty much got distracted right away, and even forgot it was on until it was over. I feel bad, cause I know this guy is pretty good, his songs are good, but it's just not working for me.
Oh wow finally we got some folky music up in here! My first impression was “is he speaking english ?!” but Sean pointed out it is probably because I was trying to listen while cleaning the bathtub in the other room. When I got back over to the side of the apartment it was coming from, I sat with my feet up in the soft breeze of our Duane Reade fan and fell in love with the soft lyrics and soothing guitar riffs as I looked out my window to a summer in Harlem… the songs somehow making it all feel like slow motion.
Particularly love when he picked up the pace a little in “The Chief’s Eye” but also loved the slow sad, audible heartbreak in “Forest Flame”.
Not sure if the rest of the fam liked this diddy,...but it’s right up my folky-ass alley!
Oh how I had such high hopes for this one. At first it was reminiscent of Crosby, Stills & Nash; folk music with clean vocals and brilliant guitars. I was left feeling like we never really got there. I kept waiting for something like "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" or "Wooden Ships", but it never came. "Don't let the past remind us of what we are not now. I am not dreaming"
Editor's Note: that last line (to which we added quotation marks) is a lyric from the aforementioned 1969 "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" a four part compilation that is meant to be a play on "Sweet Judy Blue Eyes", writer Stephen Stills ex-girlfriend. It was performed by also aforementioned Crosby, Stills & Nash. Guess we know what Dad wanted this album to sound like.
I feel like this album is coming straight out of the alt-folk movement that blew up in England a few years back, pilfering sounds of Americana. While it meanders in and out of folk, the tracks unfurl into a mix of sprawling guitar riffs and panning vocals. The lyrics sometimes feel like that typical folky rumination on the moon, the sun, the stars, the sky -- oh my! But, mixed with the impressive guitar, you can't fault the guy on the album's integrity.
It just seems extremely thoughtful and considered. It felt like a sweet and languid stretch into the summer, suiting the season's slower and heavy pace. I'm with Kate -- it's right up my folky-alley.
At the beginning of the project, you feel great anticipation. It toggles between this familiar sound and it leaves you waiting for more. But the more never comes. It has all the elements of a classic folk album, soothing melodies and ambient sounds, but none of the heart. The storytelling doesn’t leave the impact you’re so used to hearing in the genre.
I will say, the production on this album is very well done. It seems very thoughtfully crafted. However, it is nothing more than background music at your local coffee shop.