Homeless – Fred Abong (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

a2251088038_16.jpgAnyone who shows up in the review pile with a CV that includes Throwing Muses and Belly, as Fred Abong does, is going to get a free pass to the front of the queue. After all, why would any sane journo’ want to be writing about some mumbling bedroom rapper or vacuous pop wannabe when they can be revelling in new music by someone who literally helped define the art-punk, alt-rock landscape? Why indeed?

Homeless is a collection of six songs delivered as wonderfully ragged acoustica, infused with edge and emotion and sitting at the end of a line that runs through the likes of Buffalo Tom, Elliott Smith, Iron and Wine and understandably sharing both spiritual and sonic space with Kristin Hersh.

Opening salvo Plum is raw and hypnotic, a blend of dexterous picking and a world weary vocal style and Rattler wanders dynamically between a confident troubadour busk and lulling and emotive lows. But it isn’t all edge and alternative acoustic pathways, Hi Avalon takes those same rough ingredients and mixes them into a sweet serenade, wonderfully honest, brilliantly intimate, proving that it isn’t how much you put into a song but how truly the sentiment comes from the heart. Any one of these songs carries more integrity than your average wide brimmed hat sporting, chart bound folk-popster could muster up in 5 full albums.

Sometimes it is the simplest things which are the most powerful. Why over complicate, over polish or over think things when all you need to do is record what comes from within, the real you? A lesson that many of those chasing fame fail to learn. What good is the platform that fleeting, mainstream success affords when you have nothing to say? So many rhetorical questions?

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