|Format||LP Transparent Pink|
|Label||Speedy Wunderground / [PIAS]|
After an absence of 13 years Stephen Fretwell announces his long-awaited third album, ‘Busy Guy’, released via Speedy Wunderground. Described by Fretwell as “a song cycle of sorts,” the album examines the seasons of a life, exploring fatherhood, grief and rebirth, with Fretwell’s trademark eloquence and wit.
‘Busy Guy’ was produced by Fretwell’s close friend and Speedy Wunderground label boss, Dan Carey. They recorded the whole thing one hot July afternoon in just two hours. “I was so fired up, I just rattled off the songs,” Fretwell says. “I assumed it was the run-through, but Dan said he thought we’d got it.” The next day, Carey assembled “a palate of sound” involving keyboards and an electric guitar. “Dan said, ‘I’m just going to react to the songs over the next few hours’, and that’s the finished record, besides some cello.”
There are moments of visceral delight, of ripeness and fullness in nature - blood,
milk and honey, peaches and almonds - all set against the backdrop of the slowburn
of long-term love. Fretwell is a true poet with his imagery - taking us on a
tour of the universe as he tries to conflate the experience of loss and love on a major scale, yet never wanting to assume grandeur, always dancing that fine line between statement and question. He takes us right up into the cosmos, to “moon craters” and “crazed constellations” (‘Green’), to religion’s saints and angels, and right back slap-down down to earth again - in the grotesque detail of horseflies twitching in last night’s wine glasses, and the fridge-cold lagers the narrator of ‘Pink’ has brought for the beach: a peace offering but also an opt-out.
The Goshawk and the Gull
The Long Water