Scottish outfit, Fiskur, recently released their debut album, ‘Cold Hands, Burn Slow’ and it’s a fantastic record from start to finish. Come check out the album with us.
Fiskur is compiled of former Three Blind Wolves frontman, Ross Clark and Frightened Rabbit’s, Andy Monaghan. Clark is the focal point for the music whilst Monaghan delivers sublime production that take this record to the next level.
The album opens on single, ‘You Know Me So Well‘ which nicely introduces new listeners to Fiskur’s sound. It’s a slower paced song with poignant vocals, a prominent beat and some exciting electronic elements.
The way that Clark delivers his vocals is akin to that of a detailed storyteller which brings the song to life. The various electronic based drums on this are a solid background for this delivery and as the song progresses the musical talent only expands. The highlight comes when the song breaks down (2m.47s) on the line:
“Staring out, standing on foreign towers.”
A trippy electronic element enters alongside these vocals and continues as Clark delivers this verse. There is a haunting synthetic sound that subtly reinforces the lyrics before it breaks out into something louder that includes the full ensemble that has been built up throughout the track.
“Too Slow, Too Far” is one of the more uptempo tracks on this album but it does not deviate from this interesting sound that Clark and Monaghan seem to have cultivated. There’s a constant theme throughout this album of solid indie rock music coupled with delicious electronic elements.
This is well demonstrated on “Too Slow, Too Far,” particularly during the first 90 seconds in which a gradually higher pitched musical element adds some subtle brilliance to Clark’s lyrics. It then transcends into a more conventional indie rock song before once again introducing stronger electronic elements as it closes out.
“I Become Silver” is an interesting song on first listening. It’s very quick to the punch but the more you listen to it the more you appreciate the early introduction of the first chorus. The song gradually builds up to something bigger as Clark gets louder on the closing vocals of, “It’s you, It’s you that I’m running to.”
These tracks are all solid singles that will do more than enough to keep new listeners enticed and have fans excited about what’s to come on the rest of the album. The record continues with “Raven” and “Silhouette” which are nice tracks but are as close as we come to “growers” on this record as the more you listen the better they get.
On “Raven” there is a calming moment before a beautiful vocal ending whilst on “Silhouette” there is gorgeous guitar to accompany a more conventional rock song. These tracks set the record up nicely for a strong finish, starting with another single, “Servant.”
The opening of this track always makes me think of two things; Rick Springfield’s hit, “Jessie’s Girl” and some of the music that features in Big Country’s soundtrack for Scottish film, “Restless Natives.”
However, Clark’s lyrics quickly dissolve those thoughts and make this song it’s own exciting entity. “Servant” seems to tell the story of someone breaking free and that theme is reinforced by a positive instrumental and a thumping beat that will get you moving.
“Emerger” brings us back down from that high with a slower tempo. The track has some chilling backing vocals, a smooth saxophone and some computer-esque sounds that fit seamlessly into this track despite their absence until late on in the track.
‘Cold Hands, Burn Slow‘ enters its home stretch with, the belter that is, “Blank Revival.” A gorgeous guitar opens this track alongside some haunting electronics and a lo-fi influenced whirring that culminate to make something brilliant.
Similar to other songs on this album, the track gradually gets louder whilst including more instrumental elements, with the saxophone providing one of the main backdrops to Clark’s vocals.
“Klinkhammer“, another single, has a similar vibe with a calm beginning before an exciting finish. The highlight on this track comes at 2m.34s when Clark opens up his lungs and really captures the listener. A sexy saxophone joins the party and adds even more enthusiasm to these vocals.
Fiskur save the best for last with the album’s closing track, “Death Pact.” This a sombre song but one that is full of beauty. A defeated guitar opens the song before ominous synths are accompanied by the cold-hearted lyrical opening:
“Just like the window in your eye, a drop of rain falls down and dies.”
There is an uplifting shift in the vocals for the chorus but the sad nature is still prevalent as a disturbingly distorted instrumental element is introduced. A beat accompanies Clark on the second verse to give the track more thrust but thankfully it doesn’t overwhelm the vocals.
The song hits a climactic point in which the vocals get louder alongside this beat before it quietens down to just a chilling guitar at 3m.22s – a moment that is the highlight of the record. The beat returns and joins the chilling guitar as Clark’s lyrics are backed up by what feel like screams or subtle cries for help in the backdrop.
This is a solid debut from Fiskur and we’re looking forward to hearing much more from them. You can buy, ‘Cold Hands, Burn Slow’ here.