Normally, when people drop a first name it’s because they want to stand out because they are deficient in some way, shape or form. (Ben) Fletcher has no reason whatsoever to have done so.
His debut album, Upon Ayr, recently came through my letterbox, and I have to say it is one of the most simple and beautiful records I have had the pleasure of listening to – not just as a reviewer but as a fan of good music no matter the genre.
Opening track It’s Coming For Us opens with some delicate picking of the guitar, which then gives way to heartfelt vocals – one of Fletcher’s strong points.
Open Up is a more up-tempo effort; English folk is referenced in terms of the music, with some lovely escalating notes underpinning the beat of the drum. Proceedings take a decidedly country turn on Dance to the End of the Night, with a slide guitar providing the necessary cues!
Then follows, for me at least, the best track on the album. Simple Life starts out deceptively. At first listen you think that it is a simple acoustic love ballad. Listen carefully to the lyrics though, and you’ll discover that there is a dark secret to the song. It’s about lovers living a life a crime being chased by the police.
The part where the lovers are being shot at, injured and holding each other as they die is beautifully realised. Vocally, Fletcher and his accompanying female, Sarah Blasko, give a wonderful performance. Blasko’s sweet and soulful voice acting as a counterpoint to Fletcher’s spine tingling, hair-raising “The simple life we search for can’t be found”. The highlight of the album.
Further examples of Fletcher’s exquisite vocals come in Strangers Sleeping in the Same Bed and Swim Through the Mouth of the Whale.
As this was released in June I am a bit behind, but if you can hunt this down you’ll be rewarded. It’s a wonderful debut album that I can’t recommend highly enough.
Upon Ayr by Fletcher was released in June on Dramatico.