If their excellent 2018 album Careless marked the end of a chapter for Fred’s House, then the Cambridge band celebrate their tenth anniversary in fine style with the release of their four track EP, Walls and Ceilings. The departure of Griff Jameson, one of the two principal vocalists and songwriters in Fred’s House, has inevitably changed the band’s sound but the addition of Prue Ward, formerly of The Willows on violin and harmony vocals is a shrewd move. The result is an EP that retains the band’s distinctive hallmarks – sharply written songs, contemporary folk stylings and a ‘west coast’ sound – whilst developing a lighter, more commercial feel.
The band is now female fronted with Vikki Gavin as lead vocalist and these four songs, written specifically for the new line-up, are the template for the band’s evolving sound. The title track is an enjoyable and ebullient slice of hook laden pop/folk with Lachlan Golder’s guitar solo weaving around the melody in the closing stages an especially nice touch. ‘Worlds Apart’ is something slightly different for Fred’s House and is rather wonderful: a tale of unrequited lust with lush harmonies, a laid-back groove, Ward’s mournful violin and a bluesy solo from Golder. I first played the track late at night and it hit the spot nicely! Excellent stuff. ‘Steal The Night’ is another strong song that offers a less obsessive take on a similar lyrical theme and the EP closes with ‘Only The Sun’, a tender yet somewhat tongue in cheek reflection on the end of a relationship featuring a beautiful lead vocal from Vikki Gavin.
Producer Jake Day has given Fred’s House a bigger, sleeker and more immediate sound which has enabled the band to fashion an EP that should please existing fans whilst appealing to new ones. Walls and Ceilingswill hopefully be Fred’s House passport to a wider audience – it certainly deserves to be – and augurs well for this next phase of the band’s musical journey.
Review by David Waterfield
- Released through Cracking Tunes on 29 June 2020.
- Walls and Ceilings
- Worlds Apart
- Steal The Night
- Only The Sun