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coverpic flag England - Full Moon 224 - 12/06/14

Fryars
Power
Fiction Records/Caroline International

Fryars (or frYars) is young Benjamin Garrett, from London, England. According to his label, Garrett has been making music '...since his early teens. [...] Fryars' peerless sound recalls the best Twentieth Century pop writers, such as Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman, refracted through the prism of crisp, cutting-edge future production'. Ben's talent 'has won him fans from Kanye West to Depeche Mode, and he's been touring with acts as diverse as Lily Allen and Wild Beasts.' (Universal Music Publishing). Power to the people!

Garrett (24), as frYars, has put out a string of singles and EPs over the last years, on his own labels Make Mine and frYarcorp. In 2009, he put ut the 'promo' full-length, which was sort of his 'real debut', Dark Young Hearts (frYarcorp). BBC called the album '...often elegant, heartfelt, poised and intriguing'. True words, as this goes for Power as well. Power is powered up by the opening intro track, "(Power Up)" (which is one of several short, intermission-like tracks, along with "(Dialogue 1)", "(Dialogue 2)", "(Tide You Over)", and the closing "(Over And Out)"), but in fact it is a 'powered down' album. Power unveils toned down songs with fittingly cool musical arrangements. It's a totally chilled down collection of songs. Mild songs, of beauty, elegance and with a slow sparkle. Not totally like his summer pop song of 2013, "Cool Like Me" (on 679 Recordings), which is included here. But, mind you, not unlike it either. Like he sings on the album's first regular song, "On Your Own": 'Hello, it's only me...I come and go with minimum flare / I've been your closest ally / You come alive in waves / I know that you're unstoppable baby / I'll be your hardest critic / On your own, feeling like you don't belong...'. It's a most tender and laidback song, exposing Garrett on his his mission: being on his own. Excellent, numbing stuff. Throughout the album, Garrett fades in and out of this numb, brilliant ambient pop music. Imagine David Sylvian merged with Harry Nilsson (with a hint of Future Islands), f.i. like within the beautiful "Sequoia", or the love-ridden "Can't Stop Loving You". Of the other tracks, I'd like to mention the title track, the indeed powerful "The Power", and the already mentioned crisp pop of the dance-floor single "Cool Like Me" (which fits very good with "(Tide You Over)" as an intro), and the swaying, crooning ballad "Thing Of Beauty". Power almost makes you want to dance while lying down.

Power presents a bag of mild-mannered songs: the songs are gentle, but there is a certain edge to them. Splendid, shimmering songs, with neat arrangements, presented in delicious wrapping. Stylish music, for sure. The cut and paste structure of the album makes it a smashing record. You'd better prepare for an emotional surprise attack. This is a crispy taste, for sure, and it (the music) melts on your tongue. Or all over your mind.

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