Refreshing honesty about grief
Supergroup Fiddlehead is back with their newest album, Between the Richness. The band from Boston consists of vocalist Patrick Flynn and drummer Shawn Costa, both a part of the band Have Heart and Alex Henery, guitarist, and part of Basement. And last but not least, Casey Nealon on bass and Alex Dow as another guitarist.
To understand the significance of Between the Richness, it’s worth taking a look back on the post-punk band’s first full-length LP, Springtime & Blind. The albums are closely connected with each other. On their Bandcamp site, Flynn talks about how their first album was mainly about the passing of his father and the grief he experienced.
With Between the Richness, Flynn continues to express his grief; he explains, “So what if I want to write another record about how I feel about the loss of my father? Will people be like, ‘Pick another topic, dude.’” He goes on, “So, the opening track is called ‘Grief Motif’ because it’s the idea that this is an eternal struggle that will never go away. Take it or leave it, but it will be part of this dude as long as he’s got a pen in the hand.”
It might be the refreshing honesty about the grieving process, especially during “Grief Motif,” that makes the album a distinct, one-of-a-kind emotional experience or the mixture of many post-punk styles that stretches of multiple decades.
Songs like “Eternal You” and “Life Notice” feature a spoken word part that reminds one of Nada Surf’s iconic song “Popular.” All three songs feature the same ’90s-esque soundscape, the hopelessness and seeming frustration of the speaker. There’s just something about spoken word over punk tracks that hit a little deeper.
“Down University” takes the listener back into a more modern post-punk world. The use of what sounds like a high-school-like (or maybe university in this case?) cheer shows how creative the band uses elements that are usually not part of a typical punk track. “Joyboy” strikes some slower chords, a more dream-like feeling sets it. Like the rest of the album, the song is filled with emotions. All these different emotions, joy and grief, are channeled in the final song, “Heart to Heart.” According to the band’s Bandcamp site, this song was very special for Flynn because it serves as a way to explain life and death to his son. The song ends with the same audio from the beginning of the album and the start of “Grief Motif.”
Fiddlehead shows the audience that grief is not just a moment in Between the Richness, and it’s a feeling that carries on and is in some ways consuming; it even becomes part of joy. The band manages to be honest and vulnerable throughout the album. The songs definitely strike hard, and it’s almost impossible not to feel the grief of Flynn while taking in the album.