Reviews of The Black River Chronicles
Secret Sounds "This is an album that explores the complexities of human emotion; a thoughtful, intelligent and contemplative collection that clearly displays Fay’s natural talent for capturing the human heart in an embrace. Congratulations to Fay for composing not only beautiful music, but an examination of emotional and spiritual lives in a modern world."
Middle Tennesse Music "...gorgeous textures and instrumental treatments make this a very listenable record."
Unpeeled "...it decays and blackens beautifully and melds n welds so you end up loving it."
'The Black River Chronicles' Press Release
Having already caught the critics’ ear (Radio 1, Channel 4) as frontman of acclaimed Scottish alternative rock quartet Thula Borah, Lloyd James Fay embarks on his first foray into solo territory with the highly anticipated release of his beguiling debut LP, The Black River Chronicles.
An introspective reflection of his formative years, childhood stories and forlorn first loves in suburban Lanarkshire’s creaking post-steel-industry suburbs, the album sees the Glaswegian suburbanite rocker turn pastoral singer-songwriter and embrace the subtler ambient and acoustic textures that pepper his band’s catalogue.
Recorded in 2012 at the famous Gargleblast Studios in Hamilton with renowned engineer and producer Andy Miller, who’s production credits include albums by such Scottish luminaries as Mogwai, Arab Strap, De Rosa and Martin John Henry, The Black River Chronicles is truly a testament to Fay’s prowess as one of the UK’s most gifted troubadours.
A reference to the American Midwestern location of Michael Lesley’s non-fiction book Wisconsin Death Trip, which uses photographs and newspaper cuttings to highlight the harshness of life in Black River Falls during the late nineteenth century and the effects it had on the psychology of the inhabitants, the album combines the autobiographical, heart-on-his-sleeve lyrical style of Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters) with James Taylor’s calm and understated croon and minor key melodies.
As you’d imagine, with such pedigree to draw inspiration from it’s difficult not to fall instantly for The Black River Chronicles, especially when the compositions are as pretty as lead single From The Eyewall. A classic love song that reflects on Fay’s first love and all the drama that went with it, a cascade of delicately plucked and arpeggiated chords combine with ambient brushes of distortion to provide a lulling backdrop to Fay’s atmospheric vocals and Miller’s sweet backing harmonies, making for a tender and evocative ballad.
Elsewhere, standout tracks like the wistful Such Are Memories demonstrate Fay’s dexterity and musicianship as a fuller sound – replete with bass, drums, added percussion (all played by Fay) and unexpected blasts of distortion – imbues this melancholic yet uplifting and hopeful tune. According to Fay, the song “is really about how memories, even happy ones, stick with you and can wear away at you, haunting you over the years.”
Just as poignant, the beautiful Joy Thief is a sinister ode to obsessive love with intensely personal lyrics like “Break my heart/I know you want to/In the dark/My ghost will haunt you” granting the listener with an alarmingly intimate portrait of an author who’s bravely chosen to render his soul bare.
Album The Black River Chronicles and lead single From The Eyewall are released on Platform Records.