Fossil Collective brought a sense of serenity to Leaf Tea Shop, Getintothis’ Nick Lodge picks the bones out of a fine display.
Fossil Collective are not going to change your world.
And you would imagine that they’re more than happy to leave that job to someone or something far more primal, stumbled upon at a far more impressionable age. But, for one night only, they will try to send you on your way believing the world is a more beautiful place.
First impressions are that Fossil Collective play deceptively ‘nice’ music, perhaps ideal for tonight’s noticeably older crowd (Getintothis included!). Easy to listen to, sure, but also mature, intelligent, tuneful.
To call their music nice, though, is to damn it with faint praise. Their songs reward the listener, revealing hidden depths, and regularly tip-toeing into eyes-closed moments of fragile beauty. They are similar to Midlake, another band who write songs that begin without any unnecessary hoopla, allowing them to slowly unfurl before bursting into subtle colours, gushing with feeling, finally demanding your attention.
As with Midlake, Fossil Collective’s musical proficiency gives their distinctly British take on Americana room to breathe, room to follow a less obvious path when they need to. One band member even learnt the cello in order to perform one particular song, singer Dave Fendick confides.
Fossil Collective at Leaf Tea Shop, Liverpool
A case in point is Let It Go, which begins with a gentle strum that threatens to meander along a well-trodden lovelorn road, until it reaches its chorus, whereupon we’re swept up on a crescendo of falsetto ‘oohs’. Sometimes, a few swooningly crooned ‘ooohs’ are as effective as a thousand words.
It’s a shame that a small portion of the sizeable audience refuse to give the songs the time they require, chattering quite loudly at times throughout the set. No problem if you’re there to see AC/DC, but it’s hard to fully appreciate the soothing beauty of something like In a Northern Sky when people are standing backs-to-the-stage, jawing about last night’s telly.
But that’s a minor quibble, and the band is the epitome of politeness and appreciation throughout anyway, as they play from their latest album, Tell Where I Lie, its clutch of songs endowed with a defiant optimism, and capable of putting a wistful smile on the face of the most jaded 40-something.
And a few new numbers, halfway through the set, sees them continue to grow into more than the sum of their (impeccable) influences – The National and Neil Young would also figure in that equation.
The encore includes a lovely rendition of an already lovely song, Flaming Lips’ Do You Realise?, a song that manages to make our inevitable death not such a scary proposition. Perhaps, if you’ll take the time to listen, Fossil Collective will chase away your nightmares too, for one night at least.
Pictures by Getintothis’ John Johnson.
Further reading on Getintothis:
Jon Gomm: Leaf Tea Shop, Liverpool
Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band: The Kazimier, Liverpool
Buke & Gase, Harlequin Dynamite Marching Band: The Kazimier, Liverpool