Admiral Fallow: The Duchess, 8/5/2012

There’s something endearing about Admiral Fallow that I’ve never quite been able to put my finger on. While fond of the marvellous beards, Glaswegian tongue and the fact that they feature an outstanding clarinet player, it is something deeper than the superficial and trivial. They’re honest – sometimes even frank – and demonstrate a broadness of style and instruments that pulls you in. Whatever it is, it’s very hard not to enjoy their gigs.

Consisting of five musicians, ranging from drummer to flautist, Admiral Fallow have been working the circuit since 2007, and really deserve more recognition. Their diverse first album, ‘Boots Met My Face’, earned the group various slots on BBC Introducing stages, while their new album, ‘Tree Bursts in Snow’, is soon to be released and offers a less delicate, livelier, but equally enjoyable track list.

In this sense, the evening mixed a great balance of old and new material, from a stripped back performance of Four Bulbs to the livelier The Paper Trench and Guest of the Government. Frontman Louis Abbott effortlessly worked the crowd throughout, demonstrating an impressive vocal range as well as the band’s versatility of style. As a self-confessed acoustic lover, no songs could be better for me than the beautiful Subbuteo and the closing Squealing Pigs. Yet far from being just-another-Folk-band, they span the spectrum of their genre, moving from points of vulnerability and melancholy, as in Delivered, to highs of the wonderfully developmental The Way You Were Raised.

Part of the pleasure of listening to their music lies in a message which is so refreshingly free of all pretention. While their lyrics hark back to the teenage years they steer clear of being corny; they capture what it is to be young with the hindsight and wisdom that comes with age. Though engaging throughout, the point at which Abbott had us sing along to the chorus of Isn’t This World Enough? made the audience feel part of the music. Tasters from their new album only heighten anticipation for their new release, and show how deserving the band is of a bright future and further renown.

Alex Morden Osborne