Fred's House - Walls & Ceilings
The continued success rate of bands who lose a key member and songwriter is pretty low and when Griff Jamieson headed for pastures new. many may have feared the worst for the future of Fred's House. The arrival of a new EP and the quality of its contents would suggest that Fred's House are about to buck that trend.
The first key decision they made was not to do a like for like replacement and so in comes Prue Ward on violin and backing vocals to join one of the tightest rhythm sections on the circuit. On songwriting duties, Vikki Gavin has always weighed in with a number of tunes per release and she has stepped up writing two solely, one with guitarist Lachlan Golder and a further with established songwriter and friend of the band Alan Clarke. This EP therefore in many ways serves as a showcase to the new Fred's House sound and an affirmation to their existing fans that they are most definitely an ongoing concern.
Some things never change with a Fred's House release and those used to the attention to detail on their product will be more than pleased with the sleeve of this new release with, 2 holding hands being made up of a myriad of smaller pictures. Coming in a gatefold sleeve with the lyrics fully reprinted, it all goes to make a lovely item.
The first track "Walls and Ceilings" was always going to set the tone of how the listener was going to view the new Fred's House and this one hits you straight between the eyes, with a song made up of five distinct parts each worthy of being a single in their own right, let alone being used up on one song. The opening is just Lachlan Golders' urgent raw guitar riffing over which Vikki starts the vocals, the band come in and join the urgency and then there is a sudden change of time before they speed up once more, this time in full band mode wearing their pop credentials proudly on their sleeves, with swathes of backing vocals. The song deals with the feelings that come with the start of a new relationship as you explore each others past history for a confirmation of compatability, especially if the other person seems to be holding back "Wanna know where you been? Come on now darlin gotta let me in". So much effort has been poured into this one track alone, the final minute alone is worth the price of admission with Lachlan's joyful guitar solo in the background while the band race to the finish - Comeback? - It is like they have never been away.
"Worlds Apart" is a completely different affair, a beautifully soulful sophisticated piece of pop music, from it's classy opening through to Lachlan's Chic like guitar on the chorus. With Vikki's keyboard flourishes and wondrous vocals on the chorus. It's a laid back tune that simply oozes class throughout. The subject matter is one of infatuation "the Only thing I dream about is you and me".
Versatile at all times "Steal The Night" has a lovely staccato feel to the opening before the band flex their pop muscles on another irresistible piece of pop music. Driven along by Paul Richards drumming at a great pace, this is a another ensemble piece Lyrically it is actually quite affecting with one partner desperate to convince the other that this could work out "Help me out what can I do?". With a chorus destined to be a future great crowd pleaser the Fred's once again come up trumps.
Closing the EP in some style is Vikki's piano ballad "Only The Sun", possibly closing the chapter on the bands previous existence, with a song mixing a Carpenters style opening with a big Sixties Dusty Springfield style ballad to great effect. It is an elegant and sophisticated closing track, with Prue's prominent violin adding a little extra class..
A collection of songs that have not only announce the comeback of Fred's House is some style, it builds on their reputations for being able deliver cracking tunes and heartfelt lyrics.
On July 4th head over to Fred's House Facebook page for a live EP launch and see just how good this band are.