It’d be a blatantly obvious cliche to describe a band as being on the rise on the night of their album launch, but The Fernweh’s ascent in 2018 has been fascinating to follow. From release of their debut single The Liar in January this year they have since amassed some favourable column inches, as well as considerable national airplay, including landing spots on the BBC’s 6Music playlist with their debut follow up, Is This Man Bothering You, as well as their new offering Next Time Around.
Tonight’s gathering at EBGBs are here to celebrate the launch of the eponymous debut album. Originally penned in for the back end of May but rescheduled due to fatefully clashing with Liverpool’s Champions League Final night. The wait in turn was without doubt worth it.
Taking to the stage you’d be forgiven in thinking the were a lot more members in the band than the multi talented five piece, the shear number and variety of instruments filling this small stage is impressive, if not a little cramped.
Delivering the three aforementioned singles within the first four songs played adding the enchantingly haunting instrumental Winterlude, The Fernweh are equally as impressive live as they are on track.
There’s a satisfying originality in The Fernweh’s sound, the psych-folk quintet provide poetically hazy harmonies, lyrics filled with melancholic nostalgia, and elements of elctro and jazz. A quandary to the listener who could easily get lost in the unpredictable modern twist on a musical style born from a decade when things seemed a little less complicated than the current.
The second instrumental of the evening was next up with the delightful keys and strings arrangement Timepiece, before vocalist Ned Crowther introduced Brightening West as the bands next single. Bringing things to a crescendo, a saxophone infused Dressing Up Box & finally Little Monster. On tonight’s evidence this album should be very well received, Crowther giving thanks to their label Skeleton Key Records for seeing it’s potential to release.
Heading up tonight’s support were two Skeleton Key stablemates in Marvin Powell and Niamh Rowe. Powell is no stranger to the local gig circuit, and after a string of EP releases he tonight has his own following in tow. For anyone who hasn’t heard Powell play, a loose comparison of his sound would be somewhere between Sufjan Stevens and Paul Simon. A 6-song strong set starting with a slower tempo including; Salt, and Buried before the pace was accelerated for Samsara in which Powell tipped to be his next single, a catchy folk assemble with intricate chord changes and nice hook, before finishing off with Wind Before the Train, and Portuguese Cafe. There’s a quintessential delicacy to Powell’s voice, an enticing subtleness as he delivers the words, that said the only critique being these where at times overwhelmed by a frustratingly chatty crowd.
Hearing a snippet of Niamh Rowe sound-checking we were excited to see The Sundowners vocalist playing more of her solo stuff, the acoustics for her set were perfect in the belly of this brick cavern, a scintillating blend of county-folk ensued, with a mesmerising vocal range that grasped and drawn onlookers into the palm of her hand. Pleasing crowd interaction throughout, playing some single-ready tracks including Lies and Ride Away. (Words originally for Getintothis)