Review by Shannon Shumaker
Fatherson’s newest release, I Am An Island is absolutely gorgeous. When trying to think of the perfect way to describe this album, that’s what comes to mind. From the quiet intro of simple vocals and a soft guitar part, to the album’s huge, anthematic choruses, to the theatrical and big ending, I Am An Island absolutely kills.
The lone vocals on the album’s title track are the perfect opening for I Am An Island. The quiet, beautiful track sets the tone for the album, as it’s very pretty and emotional. When the track explodes about halfway through, it all really seems to come together - and that’s only the first song. By the time that “I Am An Island” ends, I’m on the edge of my seat, waiting to see where Fatherson takes me next.
As I Am An Island progresses into the next two tracks, “Hometown” and “I Like Not Knowing,” it’s apparent that the vocals are a very strong point in this record. The vocal runs and the range that Ross Leighton has in “Hometown” are breathtaking. But it’s not just the vocals that make this song strong - musically, this song tells a story, especially when the string section comes in. It’s not too much, and adds to the song perfectly. The same can be said about the following track, “I Like Not Knowing.” Hands down, “I Like Not Knowing” is one of the best tracks on I Am An Island - the chorus is catchy as hell, the lyrics are relatable, and musically, this song is beautiful and sweeping.
The best part about I Am An Island is definitely how well it flows. It took a couple of listens to me to really grasp I Am An Island as a whole, but after that, I was completely in love. It’s few and far between that an entire album can keep me captivated, but Fatherson definitely manages to do that with I Am An Island. It’s nearly impossible to skip any tracks, because it feels like they all tell a story and add to the album as a whole. Some songs are more upbeat and poppy (see “I Like Not Knowing” and “Lights”) but other tracks, such as “Half Of The Things” or “Dust” are a little bit more laid back and mellow. The amazing vocal work in the mellow tracks, however, is more than enough to keep you captivated.
Fatherson definitely shines on their bigger sounding tracks, as they prove right off the bat on the first song, though. “James” is another great example of the huge, stadium ready sound that Fatherson is capable of creating. It seems like I Am An Island builds and builds until “James” which ends with a huge chorus and an inspirational group vocal part that I could listen to on repeat for days. Following “James” are “Kiteers” and “Foreign Waters,” and while “James” is definitely the highest point on the album, these last two songs make for perfect closers. Instead of ending on one of their biggest tracks, Fatherson windes it down with “Foreign Waters,” which is a really nice touch. It makes the album as a whole flow really well from start to finish.
I Am An Island is incredibly well balanced and simply easy to listen to. From start to finish, Fatherson manage to keep you occupied with a wide variety of tracks while still remaining true to their sound. There’s a reason why Fatherson has been gaining so much momentum lately, and it’s because they’ve created an album that is not only fun to listen to, but is also relatable and inspirational.
Listen to "I Like Not Knowing" and "James"