The Scotsman Sessions #297: Admiral Fallow

Welcome to the award-winning Scotsman Sessions. With the performing arts sector still impacted by the pandemic, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on scotsman.com, with introductions from our critics. Here, Glasgow band Admiral Fallow perform a stripped-back version of their song Sleepwalking, taken from their new album The Idea of You

For their Scotsman Session, Glasgow’s Admiral Fallow have recorded a stripped-back version of Sleepwalking from their new album The Idea of You, their first for the Chemikal Underground label. It was recorded during a soundcheck at Nottingham’s Metronome venue, amid their recent three-week tour of the UK.

“We picked that song because it works well as a trio,” says the group’s singer and lead songwriter Louis Abbott. “It has enough stuff going on with just the three of us playing that you get a sense of the song, without it being a fairly dull solo acoustic version.

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“The song’s an exploration of the friendship theme of the album. It’s about getting to the age where you feel you’ve got all your pals already, but then a new person appears in your life, someone you can imagine becoming one of your good pals. It’s about the nice surprise that comes with making friends in later life.”

Admiral Fallow

This is Admiral Fallow’s first new album since 2015’s Tiny Rewards, although it was largely written and recorded by 2019, following their detour into the distillery-set concept opera Navigate the Blood and bandmember Sarah Hayes’ side project You Tell Me, with Field Music’s Peter Brewis.

Predictably, the delay has been pandemic-enforced, although they appreciated the time to make final tweaks. “We’ve got better at collaborating on how the songs are formed,” says Abbott. “We went quite experimental with the third record, working in an entirely different way with interesting results, but this time we pulled it back to to me taking lyrics and chord sequences in, then working it up together in the rehearsal room.

“We tried to be a bit less ambitious and cluttered, just us performing live with minimal overdubs, making it more distilled. That comes from being more mature as musicians and as collaborators – we don’t need to throw a million ideas at the wall, we can edit ourselves a wee bit in advance. We wanted it to feel alive and not too clean. Little mistakes were left in because they were good takes, which comes with the confidence of getting older and trusting ourselves.”

If the record has a theme, he says, it’s friendship. The band all have day jobs in different places, so to come back together for the tour after so long was a rare treat.

“We don’t have a massive fanbase, but it’s a loyal one,” says Abbott. “It’s nice to know that folk are still interested in what we’re doing, and the feedback on this latest record has been really strong, from reviews and word of mouth. What we do just keeps getting more refined as we get older, as we grow as people and musicians, and I guess that’s the way you want these things to go.

“We did a lot in the early days, but now there’s no rush. We can take time and still make music, but not feel we need to put something out every year to be in a scene that we don’t necessarily feel we’re part of. It’s almost as if we’re some sort of legacy band – but still relatively young.”

The Idea of You is out now on Chemikal Underground, see www.admiralfallow.com and www.chemikal.co.uk

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