Admiral Fallow have always had a certain ambition.
It was there in their earliest shows – striving towards something ineffable, un-knowable, just beyond reach.
Since then, the group have continued to expand, using experience as a springboard, as a means to further their desires.
New album 'Tiny Rewards' arrives on Monday (May 25th) and it's perhaps the band's most complete, assured document to date.
Streaming in advance on Deezer, you can tune in below before checking out a track by track guide to the record penned by singer Louis Abbott.
Easy As Breathing
It took us weeks to arrive at an order for the 12 songs that make up Tiny Rewards. Historically we have opened albums with slow-burning songs. This time around we went for something a bit more ballsy and immediate. 'Easy As Breathing' was one of the first lyrics to be completed for the record and perhaps has half a head back in older material, at least from a lyrical point of view. It's a song about impulse.
Phil came up with the original keys refrain that returns a number of times throughout the song. You might hear echoes of 'The Bad In Each Other' by Feist in the outro section.
This song came about while we were writing music for a collaborative project for Glasgow Film Festival in 2014. We're now at the age where a lot of our friends are settling down, getting married and having kids. This song explores what it might be like to have kids of our own one day and what a terrifying and exciting prospect that is. I guess it's a bit of an anthem for new parents. Rawk!
Happened In The Fall
'Happened In The Fall' is one of several songs to deal with what it's like to be a touring musician. I always feel pretty bad if I ever moan about what I do for a living because it absolutely beats a lot of things hands down. But I think you will always find something to have a gripe about no matter how happy you are in your life. We toured North America in 2012. It was a brilliant experience. Hardly anyone came out to the shows but we were amazed anyone did given how little known we are over there.
A few months after the tour we started writing this record and I remember feeling very guilty that I couldn't remember much about it. That I should've been making a whole load of memories in case we never make it back. It features Sarah and Kevin's woodwind instruments ever-present in our records but this time used in new ways; more heavily effected and messed with to create new and interesting soundscapes.
This one is a kind of apology to the next generation for the mess we are making of the world. It's quite a heavy feeling when you get a little older, start looking outside of your own existence and see how people in other parts of the world live. Musically it started life as a demo we called 'strutty' due to its verses having a bit of a swagger. At first it sounded a million miles away from anything we'd ever use as a band, but we kind of forced it into an Admiral Fallow shape and it turned out quite a complex beast. Stick with it.
Holding The Strings
'Holding The Strings' deals with the theme of doubt that peppers the album. It was quite obvious to us early on that it had potential to be a single, though we've always seen ourselves as more of an album band. Sarah wanted to explore the idea of layering up her vocals in chords – as opposed to singing the words – which we'd never really done before and works really well. The drum part is a bit of a nod to The National, whom we referenced a fair bit from a musical point of view during the writing process.
This song is a green-eyed observation of a carefree young stranger trying to defeat a hangover. We made demos of all the songs on this record which was another first for us. The looped style of this one is testament to that process – We took a cycle of the drums/piano pattern and built the song around that.
I wrote the lyric really quickly. It's clumsy but I'm quite proud of it. I really like the song because it doesn't try too hard. It's repetitive but hopefully doesn't outstay its welcome.
Building As Foreign
Another song musically instigated by Phil. A simple chord progression that repeats over the verses. Lots of interesting patterns and rhythms to digest over multiple listens. And a big disco party section at the end. Probably the most personal song on the record.
This was one of the last songs past the post. It was a bit of an afterthought but I'm glad it made the cut as it brings a bit of calm to proceedings. We tried to channel a more classic duet style thing here. Sufjan Stevens was referenced. We're all big fans of his.
Some Kind Of Life
This one again deals with the theme of doubt and was one of the earlier lyrics to be written. It's similar to the opener in some ways. Desire and self-reflection are also explored. It was one of the first vocals to be recorded and wasn't really working very well. Out came the whisky bottle which it worked a treat.
In truth I was hammered. The line of the song that became the title ("This is some kind of life though") was improvised in a boozy state of silliness. It stayed. We reckon this one sounded a bit similar to older AF songs when we came to mix it but Paul Savage worked some magic into it and saved its bacon. Tasty bass solo outro.
Liquor And Milk
This one came out of the very first writing session at the start of 2013. I had always meant to change the lyric but by the time it came to record it I couldn't get away from the existing one. It's an imagining of looking back at life as an older person who never quite did anything with themselves. The album title is in the lyric.
We let some friends hear the songs before we decided on which ones to put on the final record and everyone quite liked this one. I was actually keen to lose it but I really like it now especially live. Loads of great detail in the drum/percussion parts to get your ears around.
Another one with quite a lot of musical twists to it. I reckon Kevin's synth line in the second verse made it for me. It's a bit of a list song – the list being the good things about doing what we do as a job – as well as being about a feeling of helplessness and self doubt (again!). It's a bit of a call to arms to ourselves.
'Seeds' rounds things off and is a bit of a thank you to anyone who has come out to see us at a show somewhere in the world. It ties in with track three ('Happened In The Fall') to some extent from a lyrical point of view, but shows the more positive side of only playing to 15 people in a room somewhere on the other side of the world. Because at least we got to go to the other side of the world. And 15 people is better than 14.
"For the earnest and dedicated darlings with too much love and too much time. Here's to you…”
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'Tiny Rewards' is out on May 25th – listen to more Admiral Fallow on Deezer.