The Fireflys “Only Us, Northern Lights” (Strawberry Moon Records, 2019)

The Fireflys have many things to commend them to music lovers of a certain vintage. To start with there is the declaration of intent by vocalist, lead guitarist and songwriter Lee Wylding “to promote listening to albums in full as it seems the warmth of a full album has been sidelined for a more cherry pick your faves- approach.” Good start Lee.

Next, there is the wonderfully evocative image of recording sessions in a house in LLandudno where mostly everything was recorded live with all band members squirreled away in separate rooms communicating through phones and headphones.And the coup de grace must surely be the fact that this Runcorn based British band, producers of rock-based Americana with hints of grunge and folk, have their own signature craft beer produced by local Blueball Brewery.

This is clearly a band with a big local reputation, probably not surprising when their music often features on match days at Old Trafford. Having the ear of 70,000+ every couple of weeks surely can’t do any harm. As for the music, well that does exactly what it sets out to do. While the first couple of tracks ‘Grace’ and ‘Runaway’ offer up big guitars and vocals they are immediately followed by harmonica, organ and drums on the up-tempo folk number ‘This House Is Ours.

If these opening tracks give a pretty decent picture of what is to follow it does not prepare the ears for the absolute belter and album highlight that is ‘The Sailor & The Sea‘. Gentle acoustic opening, breathy vocals, subtle organ accompaniment builds to a crescendo with some superb guitar work and those big vocals again. 6 minutes of unadulterated musical bliss to compare with anything this genre will offer up this year. On an album where we are invited to absorb the whole rather than the merits of a cherry pick of tracks that task becomes a little harder when presented with a song this bloody good.

The album comes to a satisfyingly reflective conclusion with the live acoustic ‘My Heart’. A lovely way to wrap up this labour of love from the banks of the Mersey.

Big sounding Americana courtesy of Runcorn, UK
7/10

Author: Peter Churchill

Lover of intelligent singer-songwriters; a little bit country; a little bit folk; a little bit Americana. Perfect Day - early morning round of golf, afternoon at Dean Court watching AFC Bournemouth, evening gig at a cosy smallish venue with a pint and a packet of scratchings.

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