Album Review: Fatherson – Open Book

Scottish trio Fatherson are on the cusp of releasing their sophomore album Open Book, following the critically acclaimed debut I Am An Island released in 2014. The new record will be available on 3rd June 2016, celebrated with a short tour of the Highlands and album launches in both London and Glasgow.

‘Just Past The Point Of Breaking’ opens the album with monumental energy, describing how missed opportunities might not be as bad as you first assume. Fatherson demonstrate their ability to write compelling lyrics and emotive melodies from the very first track, inviting you in with heartfelt understanding and honesty. You’ll feel like they’re your best friends before the end of the second verse.

‘Always’ stands strong on the foundations that I Am An Island built; offering big sounds in vocals and instrument alike. The single has been played constantly on BBC Radio 1, to the praise of Huw Stephens and Clara Amfo, bringing howling vocals and crashing drums to the forefront of british radio. In contrast, ‘Lost Little Boys’ begins softly, echoing through your body before building up into something entirely euphoric. The words “we’re just lost little boys / making a name for ourselves” highlights the anxieties of a band giving it their all to get noticed, to be heard above all the noise. Luckily, the gang vocals and marching band drums are loud enough to smother anything within a 100 mile radius and if the crowd sing along (which they surely will) the volume will be ten-fold.

‘Wondrous Heart’ offers a sweet change of pace, relaying tales of doubt and finding reassurance in each other, asking with sincerity: “Do you have the guts to tell me that everything I ever did was wrong?” The song shows that, maybe, if you lose faith in yourself there will always be someone else who believes in you, who will tell you honestly when you’ve fallen astray.

‘Joanna’ and ‘Younger Days’ slow things down once more and offer a moment of reflection in the chaos; stripping things down to showcase Ross Leighton’s voice in a whole new light. This vulnerability makes Fatherson so compelling; ‘Joanna’, in particular, shares the anguish and lingering affection often felt at the end of a relationship with its simple ballad.

Fatherson Cardiff
Photo by Laura Blakemore

The live session the boys did at Òran Mór earlier this year showcase the best of title song ‘Open Book’, starting simply with Ross Leighton on acoustic guitar before kicking in with the rest of the band. Although led by the vocals, the bass line is heavy on this track (thanks to bassist Marc Strain) making it a catchy tune that won’t leave your head for days. Its urgency builds throughout each verse as it expresses the anxieties of not being good enough, and being betrayed by someone who you always thought would remain loyal.

‘Forest’ has been a fan favourite since the boys started playing it at live shows; first when supporting Prides on tour last year and again on their own headline tour this February. Soaring vocals and gritty guitars provide the framework as volume becomes key; you’ll find yourself screaming along to this track before you know it.

‘Kids’ and ‘Stop The Car’ kick things up again by taking you on a trip down memory lane at full speed. The former describes the insanities of adolescence with rose-tinted nostalgia, making you long for the days you used to spend cycling acoss the neighbourhood and climbing trees with that cute boy from school.

Fatherson then move on to ‘Sleeping Over’, describing openly and honestly the complexities of a relationship getting more serious; the anxieties of moving on from just “sleeping over” and becoming something tangible. It’s something that almost everyone in their early twenties can relate to, realising that it’s maybe time to settle down without quite knowing how or why.

Just when you think your heart couldn’t break any more, the album ends with ‘Chasing Ghosts’. Maybe Ross Leighton’s words are a cathartic measure of letting go but its his insight which unites us all as we chase after our own ghosts, searching for answers and finding a hand to hold.

Open Book is an honest album describing the tribulations of someone on the brink of adulthood, trying to navigate the world of relationships, melancholy, and self-doubt. Each song is relatable as the boys share genuine experiences of growing up, and it’s this that allows us to feel less alone. This album is a must-listen for anyone with a heart.

Watch ‘Open Book’ in session at Òran Mór below:

Fatherson are champions of big sounds and even bigger hearts. Pre-order the album now at:


Previous Live Review: Lisbon / VYNCE / Dead Slow Hoot / I Kept the Wolves Away at Sheffield Union, 25.05.16
Next Track: Esper Scout / Zozo - split 7"

No Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.