ALBUM REVIEW: Fiddlehead – Between The Richness

Release Date: May 21st 2021
Label: Run For Cover Records
Website: None available
Facebook: www.facebook.com/fiddleheadma
Twitter: www.twitter.com/fiddleheadusa

Rating:

Often a band amount to little more than the sum of their parts. When Fiddlehead first convened, comprised of members of Have Heart and Basement, the scope of the project was limited, with little vision beyond a practice space. Seasoned members and active life cycles make endless difficulties out of current projects, therefore, it wasn’t too perplexing for the 2014 EP ‘Out Of The Bloom’ to be left on its lonesome for nearly half a decade.

2018 welcomed the arrival of debut full-length ‘Springtime And Blind’, a remarkable rethreading of classic and modern emo, grunge, and melodic hardcore tropes. What was initially perceived as a minimal, private project had been exposed for the weighty, emotive form of healing that it really was. Endlessly endearing vocalist/lyricist Pat Flynn has done little to disguise the group’s purpose, using their succinct, often frustratingly brief pieces to explore grief in all of its most potent and nuanced guises.

The passing of Flynn‘s father has been arguably the central point of Fiddlehead‘s message thus far, delving into metaphorical and literal aspects with such a grey, opaque meshing of the two, that it’s honestly no surprise that the man works full-time as a high school teacher. When the image speaks for itself, he allows it to, but directness is hardly shied away from.

In the three passing years resulting in the sophomore effort, ‘Between The Richness’, a lot of life has happened. Flynn has married his teenage sweetheart, and they’ve brought a son into the world. While the staying power of grief will constantly loom over essentially every aspect of life, it’s the discovery of new forms of love and light that make the band’s second album such a staggering, motivating, and painfully relatable listen.

Where the introductive ‘Grief Motif’ gives way to ‘The Years’, Flynn immediately admits that even after all this time, “I still fall apart.” It’s a testament to the power of pain and trauma, and vindication to not be thrown by creeping, negative emotions. We also get our first mention of the “Joyboy”, who again appears on the titular penultimate track, one of the album’s gentler, fuzz-pop moments which explores the ability of new life to help repair the loss of old, helping to see “between the richness of white and blue.”

It’s all very emotional, poetic, circle of life stuff, but it’s handled with such an absence of pretentiousness, and delivered so earnestly and vulnerably that you’d have to be made of stone to not feel effected across the twenty-five minute, blink and you’ll miss it runtime.

Building on every strength from its predecessor, with thicker riffs, more anthemic hooks and a just a little more sweetness, it’s safe to say that sometimes a band isn’t merely the sum of their parts. Sometimes a group of artists can come together to trump everything that they’ve ever done.

As the final moments of the stadium-ready closer ‘Heart To Heart’ ring out, Fiddlehead bury a time capsule of emotion, uncertainty, and endless self-discovery that we carry with us, in our hearts, from the cradle to the grave.