Clarks Originals: Fyfe Dangerfield

Guillemots man's solo turn
Clarks_Fyfe D_Copyright MSethi 2011 5.jpg
While The Guillemots provided a lucky few a dose of their space rock style at the Bathhouse last week, it was to the Clarks Originals store that we sallied for a close look at the lyric and songcraft behind his new album.

Fyfe Dangerfield has placed a renewed focus on his lyric writing with this effort, and some of the tracks he produced at Clarks would indeed have stood up to being read of the page. He started with Faster Than The Setting Sun: ‘Storm clouds higher than heaven / angels defeating themselves’, lyrics which were lent a different resonance in the acoustic version – a lot less The Killers power ballad with a more intricate meaning.

Livewire comes from his solo album, Fly Yellow Moon, which is played with a tickling guitar, clacking percussion and some faint synths: ‘Good Samaritans never play their part / Come round, let me put your hands around my heart‘. The lyrics have been criticized for sentimentality in reviews but worked pretty well in this rendering, and could have carried through in a larger arena.

“So, shoe-buyers...” Fyfe began, addressing the audience for the first time - he had come to the ball dressed less spectacularly than some of the smaller acts, in a tatty white shirt, slacks and some grubby Asics trainers. The nattily-shoed Clarks Originals staff looked aghast – they couldn’t wait to get him into some hot-to-trot desert boots.

At one point Fyfe looked [and admitted] that he was on the point of forgetting his lines – but managed to carry the feel of the song without too many crotchets dropped.

He then showcased a song that was to be the centrepiece of his later full-band show – ‘Vermillion’ – this worked really well in an acoustic setting - his promise of working harder on his lyric writing for this album came good. Clash thinks it was Cocteau who wrote that ‘while in written poetry, imagery can be like lace, in theatre it must be like the rigging on a ship, visible for miles’ – well Fyfe both adheres and breaks from this convention in the song, creating some verse lyrics that are delicate enough for written poetry and the more emo-driven ‘How could anyone hold you / without feeling good?’ before a great hook which makes you think about the very energy of song, and how the driving force of melody, inflating a word, gives a line its colour or whether it is already there in the meaning of the word – it’s an excellent song – look out for it in the coming months.

Then came ‘Dancing in the Devil’s shoes’, a slightly derivatively-titled downbeat number, which comes from the new album, followed by another number from the Walk The River LP.

Fyfe has a funny habit of licking his lips very delicately before singing, like he’s persuading something sleek and rather shy to dart into the microphone - this acoustic session perfect for this. His newly-written, newly-smart lyrics given their own space to impress, and impress they did.

Words by Miguel Cullen

Find out more about Clarks Originals 'Original And Live' gig series on ClashMusic.com HERE.

Have your say

Sign in or Register to leave comments
-