Fredrick & The Golden Dawn, the début album from Irish songwriter Kevin Nolan, is a gloriously vivid melting pot of sound and performance that is truly unique.
From the opening rasping vocal of ‘Blood Wedding’ the off-kilter feel and mood of Fredrick & The Golden Dawn is alluded to through it’s joyously ragged, rattle and hum sound.
However the sheer array of stylistic leanings and influences is not made clear until the following numbers. Moving through the close quarters twinkle of instrumental track ‘Ctrl’ and more contemporary indie of ‘Splinters’ Nolan jumps quickly from one sonic flourishes to the next highlighting the vast spectrum of inspirations that form the album.
The deep-seated, manic sermonising of ‘Ballade to St. Dymphna’ provides the creative high-point of Fredrick & The Golden Dawn as Kevin Nolan melds the storytelling aspect of his song-writing to the tense, pounding depth of field found in the shuddering landscape of his music.
While the album’s finale ‘Aubade’ (featuring composer and vocalist Julie Feeney) gives Fredrick & The Golden Dawn a suitably melancholy, almost calm after the storm feel that brings the L.P to a well executed close.
In the wrong hands Fredrick & The Golden Dawn could have been a work of utter chaos, falling apart under the weight of its own concept and sound. However, created with seemingly unrestrained ingenuity and commitment the record is kept cohesive through the perfectly cast production that screeches, jangles and howls underneath Nolan’s engrossing, growling performance.
Fredrick & The Golden Dawn is a bold début release of immense character containing a large-scale undeniable theatricality to it that is simply stunning to behold.
Fredrick & The Golden Dawn by Kevin Nolan is out now.