Published May 25, 2018Try as you might, you won't be able to resist the yearning and earnest vibes of Newfoundland folk duo Fortunate Ones and their new LP Hold Fast. Sure, snootier music aficionados may espouse gravitas and grittier, edgier fare. But even the most uppity of listeners will quickly be clomping along to the stomping drums and slowly ascending guitar tempo of the title track, before they swoon over the relatable lyrics about summer nights under the pines.
Opening track "Northern Star" begins with chiming guitar fretting and soaring piano lines, as Andrew James O'Brien and Catherine Allan sing in unison about "the quickening of blood," the "hammer of your heart" and other lyrics that aptly fit the song's excitable tone and tempo.
But if all that light and bright fare proves to be too much for cynics, Fortunate Ones thankfully also show their versatility. "Before You" is a hushed and whisper-soft ballad that the duo practically sing a cappella, save for some spindly guitar accompaniment. The song's sentiment is simple but effective: "I can't remember my life before you." "Don't Let It Be Us," meanwhile, features a dark and downcast drum line as O'Brien sings about "hitting the road when the going gets tough" as Allan sings backup that almost sounds Auto-Tuned. It's a bold departure from the rest of their repertoire.
Best of all, however, is "She." On it, Allan employs lyrics with as much brevity as the title, grabbing you instantly with effective simplicity. Key lyrics include: "She tucked her chin, face to the wind, somewhere that she'd never been." As she sings those punchy lines, steadily marching piano notes and crisp yet understated drumming and strategic string notes all complement Allan's empathetic but straightforward singing. It's a piercing, evocative track that stands as the best among a strong batch, making Fortunate Ones' listeners feel like the lucky ones. (Old Farm Pony)