Fall is Freedom to Glide’s follow up to 2013’s excellent album Rain and the second of their intended “war themed trilogy”. Where Rain mainly featured references to World War One, here they continue to use it as a backdrop but also cover events that followed on, from World War Two to the present day, in a century of conflict.
Pete Riley and Andy Nixon came together whilst playing in the Pink Floyd tribute Dark Side of the Wall for many years. They cite 13th March 2010 as the day the seeds of Freedom to Glide were sown. Dark Side of the Wall were playing in Manchester where, after the sound check, Pete told Andy about a song he was recording called Hypnotized. He needed some acoustic guitar for it and asked Andy if he would mind obliging. A week later Andy presented the track back to Pete with not only the guitar added, but also drums, bass and backing vocals. Andy’s input had taken the song in a new direction musically. Soon afterwards keyboard instrumentation with sound effects and radio chatter were added, and from here Rain was born. Living around forty miles apart, Pete in Derbyshire and Andy in the West Midlands, they both used their own home recording studios and the music of Freedom To Glide comes together via the Internet.
Understandably, given their past band history, the music does have some Pink Floyd influences which were more noticeable on Rain. For Fall, the influence is still there although I feel it is more subtle. There is certainly a “Floydian” guitar at times plus the use of sound effects, but they have started to develop a distinctive Freedom to Glide identity and sound on this release.
There are thirteen tracks here, although those who buy the download get an extra track, Exit Wound (Let it Go). It’s a beautifully written and arranged album full of quality songs. Considering the subject matter it is an uplifting listen in parts as melodies flow and move throughout. There are dynamic shifts into heavier territory, but this never overtakes the song, just adds to the textures of the sound. Exit Wound demonstrates this with melody wrapping around some heavier guitar riffing to give the song an edge without losing its focus. As I pointed out earlier, the use of sound effects supports the stories; church bells, birdsong and even a “sat nav” instruction all fitting seamlessly into the sound.
Andy handles all the lead vocals, but Pete takes over for Sleep Under the Flag which begins with a lone piano, Pete’s haunting delivery telling the story of a dead soldier’s return home. Further keyboards add to the mood of the song before it ends. This is followed by the acoustically driven Another Same where the guitar has a sort of folk/protest song feel. The longest track is Enigma which begins with piano and Andy’s vocal, texture is added as the song progresses with a great guitar solo at around five minutes.
Pete and Andy have produced an excellent album with thoughtful and intelligent lyrics set to some great music. If you liked Rain then this one is sure to be for you with its leap forward in song writing. If you are not familiar with this band then I urge you to check them out. I look forward to hearing where the third album in this trilogy will take them.
01. Fall (1:56)
02. Silent Code (7:20)
03. Names In The Stone (4:54)
04. Toll (3:02)
05. Playing God (5:05)
06. Exit Wound (5:39)
07. Enigma (8:03)
08. The Middle Game (7:46)
09. Trough Of War (4:07)
10. Solace (1:05)
11. Sleep Under The Flag (3:15)
12. Another Same (3:33)
13. October (5:43)
14. Exit Wound [Let It Go] (5:41)
Total Time – 67:09
Pete Riley – Piano, Organ & Synthesisers, Lead Vocal (track 11)
Andy Nixon – Guitars, Bass, Drum Production, String Arrangements & Lead Vocals
Record Label: Independent
Date Of Release: 1st July 2016