Father, Brother, Son plays out like flicking through the pages of a long-lost photo album. Moments are captured, frozen in time and put through the prism of perspective, the experience lived, and the present. Cast against an inviting widescreen Americana sound, Oliver Cole’s third album finds the songwriter musing on his place within the big three; life, death and legacy.
The warm indie-folk of Father, Brother, Son adds to the album’s sense of nostalgia and retrospective introspection. This foundation, seen in the opening Cohen-Esque picked acoustic guitar of ‘All Your Love’ is strongly contrasted during the song’s dramatic finale chorus, giving the record the space to move into stylistically bold orchestral moments like ‘Passing Through’ and ‘Move On Move On’.
This undulating sense of dynamic aspect is found in the songwriting itself. Father, Brother, Son has a thematic thread. Songs like the glistening ‘You Were The Right Turn’ deal with the fate and the impact of the right road taken in lyrics like “I put all things down to ya, but I know there’s more to it, how important is the timing of these things.” While the charming album closer ‘Choose Carefully, Emily’ finds Cole singing to (and with) his daughter about the possibilities that lay ahead of her.
But it’s ‘Passing Through’ where Father, Brother, Son hits its high-water mark. Throughout the album, Oliver Cole muses on all aspects of life, and ‘Passing Through’ finds the songwriter dealing with the fleeting time we all have, what we do with that time and what/who we leave behind. Set against a suitably epic production, lines like, “I can’t talk to angels. There is no god. Nothing to hold on to, once it’s lost. But I talk to you, Mother, you’re in my dreams” have an added weight to them. Cole’s vocal performance, the thematic thread of Father Brother, Son and the production all culminate into one encapsulation of the record’s lofty concept.
And so it goes, Father, Brother, Son is about life itself. The triumphs, the pitfalls, and the moments in between and after. Through a wonderfully crafted suite of songs, Oliver Cole’s portrait of life is a compelling one filled with honest introspection and emotions, and much like the photo album mentioned above, it’s well worth revisiting once you’ve finished.