The funeral cortège moved slowly, with probably more respect than was due; the thousands of those lining the streets were smiling, but the feeling in the air wasn’t particularly sad, or triumphant, more one of relief.
As the long, winding column of not really mourners, more seeing offers came to an abrupt halt beneath the tall building, anticipation rose. A song was playing. It ebbed and flowed, melodies shimmering to match the sun reflecting back through the eddys of the water below. The song was called ‘Guaratuba‘. A breeze sprung up and the singer’s words, seeming to come from out of the ether themselves, bathed the good natured throng in sweetness and humility.
There was no leader, so as the solid pine box was lowered onto the ground it was left to a woman to come forward and, with effort, lift the lid. The interior was completely covered in a red silk lining stolen from some de-throned clown. Inside the deceased looked out wordlessly. The inhabitant was not at all a person, but a box. It was empty and full of symbolism. A child using chalked had written a few words on the metaphor in yellow, dandelion chalk. The dust covered the woman’s palms. And the words said “The Talent Contest”. As one, the audience cried “Amen” and were gone.
If anything kills the present cycle of anti music, of anti musicianship, it will be records like this, by bands like this, Fossil Collective, who are David Fendick and Jonny Hooker, a duo from Leeds. They make songs in the folk tradition once hijacked by Simon & Garfunkel, but as on the titular opener of this five track EP, they are happy to take the hyper extended, sub-Dexy’s on cider inflections of the current neckerchief brigade and turn that counterfeit scenester blankness on its head. Moving slowly, the mood is peaceful, more intricate.
A quintet of songs about “Struggle, strife and relationships”, the listener could be forgiven for feeling the opposite; the slide inflected ‘Without a Fight‘ which according to the twosome being about “Not giving up on something you love” but by contrast conveying three a.m. elation rather than a struggle of conscience, or worse.
Both Fendick and Hooker have tried before and been bruised and bum rushed by the hype train, and ‘Let It Go‘ has that feeling of artistic comfort that only arrives when people in the room are doing it for themselves. Closer ‘Everything But You Was Facing North‘ is a true sit down and breathe of a song; a dog, a fire and pretty suburban isolation as seen through the eyes of someone sat at the oldest piano known to man and conjuring hope and grief from just a few black and white keys.
The duo may serve no other earthly purpose than to exist, or they may help tear down the castle of music as a commoditised, ugly charade.
Either will do.