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Fiddlehead - Between the Richness Music Album Reviews

Fiddlehead - Between the Richness Music Album Reviews
Fiddlehead’s second album doesn’t stray far from the band’s foundational qualities: gruff but approachable, intense without being aggro, emo but not emo.

Here’s footage of 10,000 or so people hanging on Pat Flynn’s every word at Have Heart’s 2019 reunion show—possibly the biggest hardcore gig ever. Yet it’s probably not that difficult to imagine Flynn at his day job as a high school teacher; the skill sets are pretty similar. Hardcore bands and teachers revered decades down the line both tend to honor teenagers’ inherent distrust of authority as well as their desire for guidance. As life gets complicated in adulthood, clear-cut instruction in making sense of the world is harder to come by. In the wake of his father’s death in 2010, Flynn found himself yearning for a similar desire for clarity, and that’s where Fiddlehead came in. Originally formed as an outlet for Flynn’s grief, the Boston quintet finally released their debut LP, Springtime and Blind, in 2018, wondering if they’d outlived their purpose. Then came marriage, fatherhood, impending midlife crises, a handful of throwback hardcore projects, and now, three years later, Fiddlehead’s vital sophomore album, Between the Richness, wherein Flynn leads a communal reckoning with all of the complicated shit that takes us from our twenties to the grave.

“All the years have changed/Ten folded like a day/Old Death’s dulling sting/To new life blooming,” Flynn howls on “The Years,” grappling with the 10-year anniversary of his father’s death and the simultaneous birth of his own son. At a lean 25 minutes, Between the Richness doesn’t stray far from Fiddlehead’s foundational qualities: gruff but approachable, intense without being aggro, emo but not emo. Fiddlehead claim Archers of Loaf (not Pavement) as a primary influence, and they occasionally show allegiance to the sonic signatures of shoegaze and slowcore—the melancholic guitar interplay of “Joyboy,” the reverb elasticating Flynn’s vocals toward the end of “Loverman”—if not those styles’ timid disposition. Still, Fiddlehead’s “post-hardcore” is more lifestyle descriptor than musical tag. Think of those parents with neck tats pushing strollers. Even if Fiddlehead bookend Between the Richness with an e.e. cummings poem and write lyrics in Latin, they’re not putting on airs; they still aim to win over the old heads who saw them open for the likes of Gorilla Biscuits and Hot Water Music.

Lineage is important to Fiddlehead, though not as much as fostering an active community. The soul of Between the Richness came into being in the 200-cap rooms where Fiddlehead wrestled with their liminal status—not yet a legacy band but significantly older than most of their labelmates on Run For Cover; too punk to be centrist indie but far more polished than whoever is the Have Heart of 2021. Similar to Japandroids on Celebration Rock, Fiddlehead reconsidered their original plan to break up after one record and asked: How could LP2 speak to the people who were yelling out their debut’s lyrics? “With this album I was really trying to ensure that the live experience would be as optimal for outward expression of emotion as possible,” Flynn has said. “Eternal You” briefly recasts Have Heart’s shout-and-point anthems as streamlined power pop before eventually giving way to a spoken-word recitation about friends drifting apart. “Million Times” and “Down University” work up rousing hooks while avoiding the gaudy, winking Buzz Bin mimicry that’s overrun their scene; they’re more in the spirit of beefy post-hardcore acts like Quicksand and Civ who somehow managed to sneak onto MTV.

It’s no slight to call nostalgia a binding thread of Between the Richness—flipping through the formative staples of a boxed-up CD collection will invariably lead to revisiting the major decisions that got you where you are. It’s ironic that Between the Richness came out the same day as an album steeped in the minutiae of adolescence, since it’s often about the same exact thing. “Back to acne high school drama/Cataclysmic sweethearts,” Flynn wails on “Million Times,” a song that interrogates the teenage desires and traumas that haunt adulthood. Flynn has to know that “What’s love if not a war for peace that never ends?” will be his definitive line, equally likely to be tattooed on someone’s neck or used as their high-school yearbook quote. “Down University,” fluent in the language of aspirational education (“Hyde Park! Precious Blood! Latin School! USMA! Emmanuel! BC! Columbia! Graduate!”), slyly plays on Flynn’s dual role as guidance counselor and singer who offers solace to those who’ll never set foot in a hall of higher education.

Despite the record’s hefty concerns and classic “harder, better, faster, stronger” second-LP upgrades, Fiddlehead’s defining quality is their modesty. Springtime and Blind sounded constitutionally self-effacing, trusting a blunt, burly, no-frills style of pop-punk to deliver its emotional payload, tempering the hype that could’ve come from its devastating backstory and sterling pedigree (Flynn and drummer Shawn Costa were both in Have Heart and guitarist Alex Henery is an alumni of soft grunge kingpins Basement). Likewise, Between the Richness doesn’t go out of its way to announce its significance. Instead, Fiddlehead ensure that their fans—whether it’s the same 150 people who saw them in a skate shop, people still stuck at home imagining the experience of seeing “Million Times” live, or the sprawling crowd from Have Heart’s historic Worcester gig—will do the yelling for them.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Fiddlehead - Between the Richness Music Album Reviews Fiddlehead - Between the Richness Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, June 02, 2021 Rating: 5

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