Emily Fairlight and The Shifting Sands: Sun Casts A Shadow (Fishrider/digital outlets)

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Emily Fairlight and The Shifting Sands: Sun Casts A Shadow (Fishrider/digital outlets)

Emily Fairtlight's previous album of 2018 recorded in Austin came under the unpromising title Mother of Gloom, but as we noted in our generally favourable review – “more elegantly monochrome than downright 'doom-folk' (her description)” – it didn't live down to that definition.

But on this album with Mike McLeod (aka The Shifting Sands), the folk here is distilled into concise songs (nine songs, 23 minutes) and there is an undeniable optimism in McLeod's Get Through This, Fairlight serving up some pure folk-pop on the hypnotic WIT and also barbed humour on the almost jaunty country-folk duet Borderline: “I don't want a house and I sure hate my job, I'd rather fuck around and write these shitty songs”.

That kind of casual honesty suits songs that are stripped back to two voices and acoustic guitars which – given the more embellished approach in their previous careers – sound like the kind of things you'd enjoy in a house concert with the artists stopping for drinks and a few asides before taking their small audience into something as McLeod's appropriately titled Summer Sun.

As mentioned previously, Fairlight has a vocal style which you'd love to hear off the leash a little more: check Defences right at the end.

But Sun Casts A Shadow of mostly first-take recording was not going to be that occasion.

This is a modest album of modest intentions which, by lowering the bar, comes off as approachable and, in some cases, possibly the working drawings for songs which (like his pared-back psyche-pop Get Yours and her Bats-like folk-rock WIT) could stand an even more straight-ahead rowdy rock or jangle-pop incarnations.


You can hear and buy this album at Fishrider's bandcamp page here.

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