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Conscious Insobriety: ‘Eccentrically we Love’ by the Fugitives

In Album Reviews, Canada on March 23, 2010 at 9:48 pm

The Fugitives have been described as anything from ‘folk-hop’ and ‘slam-folk’ to ‘spoken word cabaret’. However, on their latest album, ‘Eccentrically We Love’, out today on 604 records, The Fugitives move from defying classification towards more traditional pursuits; elegant, thoughtful, and intelligent folk-music.

Yet traditional does not mean simplistic. Rather, the album is a contemplative set of coherent musings on topics close to home; any home of any body. From the opening line, ‘a house is a snail shell/its walls are so thin/they tell of my neighbours making love love love’, it is clear that The Fugitives are not out to radicalise you or exhaust you with intense and far-reaching thoughts. They concern themselves with houses and homes, loves and lies, flowers and (best of all) ‘things’. Everyday things. Yet they do so with significant lyrical and poetic skill. Again, theirs is not the poetry of the dense and obtuse, their words slip and skip off their tongues with a natural ease that reflects their domestic concerns; ‘as you smoke one more joint/that you roll in one hand/and your lips now anoint…I wish i was sober enough to drive’. Conscious insobriety is The Fugitives’ gift.

These lyrical concerns persist throughout the album, but they never bore you; think of them as all fitting the same lyrical context –  each song is a thread with its own beauty, but the album is the rich tapestry. The colours of the threads are created by the composition of guitars, drums, banjos and violins; folk music which befits concern for folk. The bouncy chord progression underneath the ‘the usher’s programme basket’ moves it from being a plainly uninteresting object, to one which plays a part in the lives of numerable people everyday, bouncing around among their hands in your mind between the troughs and peaks of the rhythm.  The music will never be picked up as groundbreaking or genre pushing, but The Fugitives delve deep into their tradition, mining the wealth of ideas available to them in a similar way to the Fleet Foxes. In fact there is so much creativity and difference between all the songs it is hard not to be impressed with the dedication and concern which must have gone into making this album; The Fugitives love to spend time singing about the things they love. The eccentric love of the title track comes merely from observation; as singer Barbara Adler considers the prospect that her lover wants to see her ‘as a Catholic school girl, with her skirt around [her] knees’. Adler’s gentle delivery, over serene guitar picking and quiet piano chords, turns this from crude to eccentric, and only bedroom eccentric at that.

Adler sings that she will ‘take my time on you/ because we’re the kind of people who deserve the long view’.  Sometimes, we all are, and we all could do worse than observe the long view; ‘all this trouble in the world/let it come/let it come.’

‘Eccentrically we Love’ is available for purchase here, and you can pre-order the iTunes download here.

Snail Shell:

City of Rain:

All This Trouble:

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