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Fabian Holland - Fabian Holland (Review)

Fabian Holland

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

BY HIS own admission, folk singer-songwriter Fabian Holland has gone for a simple approach to his eponymous debut album.

That is to say, guitars and vocals are the main focus. In the guitar’s case, it’s two Lowden guitars, a 1994 Lowden O10 (which he currently uses as his main instrument) and an old Lowden S22. Song-wise, meanwhile, it was about being concise and telling stories influenced by people that Holland has met along the way.

The result is very much an acquired taste in that you have to be a fan of folk. And appreciative of stripped back song-writing. This is very sedate, very thoughtful and very slow-burning.

Holland could have benefited from the odd change of pace to really mix things up a little. And it’s ultimately to the album’s detriment, no matter how concise, that he doesn’t.

That’s not to say there aren’t good songs. Like Father Like Son is an intimate look at a relationship we can all relate to in some way, and you can’t help but find yourself becoming invested in it.

While Home offers up a heartfelt homage to home that is driven by a subtle, yet quietly passionate set of vocals, and some warm guitar hooks. It certainly won’t appeal to fans of more contemporary folk acts like Mumford & Sons, yet it evokes memories of classic folk singers of years past, as well as the troubadour likes of Newton Faulkner and company.

Dr Price, meanwhile, picks up the pace a little (and we mean little) more, working well on its intricate guitar licks and a melodic chorus. But Mad Eric remains too sluggish at seven minutes plus, albeit with added flourishes of harmonica.

In truth, this is an album that yields slow rewards. But Holland needs up up his game slightly come sophomore record time.

Download picks: Like Father Like Son, Dr Price, Home

Track listing:

  1. The Landlord’s Daughter
  2. Hard Time Killing Floor Blues
  3. Little Boy Johnny
  4. Like Father Like Son
  5. Dr Price
  6. Home
  7. Charlie
  8. Mad Eric
  9. Banks of the Dee