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Album review: Fyfe Dangerfield's 'Fly Yellow Moon'

March 15, 2010 |  6:53 pm

FYFE_240 With his band, the Guillemots, Fyfe Dangerfield zeroed in on that moment of the musical day between the darkness of Morrissey's melancholy night and the dawn of Brian Wilson's sunny early confectionary pop. On this delightfully scrappy, self-released solo debut, the emotional weight shifts a bit more toward the light, while retaining the shoestring sophistication that makes the Guillemots so appealing.

The leadoff track, "When You Walk in the Room," is a pure-pop delight, 21st century style, with scratchy synth sounds setting the tone and infectious beat for his declaration of what it feels to be so deliriously in love that he can admit, "I can't help it if I'm happy not to be sad."

"So Brand New" acknowledges the struggles of the past that make joy in the present possible, invoking Shakespeare the way any decent British songwriter -- or at least any twentysomething Brit -- apparently must: "Once I was livid/ Once I was in hate/ Once I was Lear on the rocks."

He and producer Adam Noble have delivered a set of stylistically disparate tracks that's almost a sampler, from the wall-of-noise pop of "Faster Than the Setting Sun" to the acoustic folk of "Livewire," from the Philly-soul-soaked "She Needs Me" to the shoegaze philosophizing of "Don't Be Shy." It might splinter into anarchy if not for the connectivity of Dangerfield's unrelenting tunefulness and endearing vulnerability of his vocals.

When he sings "This could go in any direction, any direction at all," on the closing cut, he makes the wide-open musical space surrounding him tangibly real.

-- Randy Lewis 

Fyfe Dangerfield
"Fly Yellow Moon"
(self-release)
Three stars (Out of four)

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