Album Review: Deadwood, O Fisher

O Fisher is the re-branding of St Andrews blues stalwarts Ticho. Following their graduation, the boys have continued to take their unique take on blues music to new heights recently releasing their first E.P under new guise, O’ Fisher, Deadwood was recorded around Lake Como. A collection of energetic blues sounds O Fisher’s latest is a wholly exciting project.

The eponymous ‘Deadwood’ is a charged introduction to the EP with James Kenneally’s sweeping vocals melting into the harmonica of Pedro Conceiçao and churning guitars, all before the minimal ending, nicely tying the track together. It’s a strong start from the group’s first E.P showing fully well that the boys are experienced with this often forgotten genre. Second track ‘Leg Shakin’ Sweetspot’ is perhaps the band’s best representation of their modern blues crossover sound with Youkang Jun’s cutting rap biting through on the bridge. It’s an exciting, unique blend that doesn’t feel too forced and only serves to highlight the band’s alternative take on a classic genre and their ability to effortlessly intertwine the old and the new.

‘Leave Me Alone’ is perhaps the group’s most traditionally blues sounding song, jam packed with rumbling, Declan Ghee’s walking bass lines, morose guitar hooks and lead singer James Kenneally crooning throughout the chorus, “Leave me alone I fell for her, now my heart is broke”. The song descends into a nicely orchestrated guitar solo and vocal ensemble, never feeling too busy. ‘Wayfarer’ offers a more soulful insight into the band’s work, Chris Wollner’s rising keys team with acoustic guitars and crooning vocals, the only negative aspect of it is its brevity, as soon as the track sets its pace its swiftly over. Final track ‘Roadrunner’ is ballsy, in your face blues with tinges of country. Its unabashed, with a clap-a-long bridge in which Kenneally snarls, “You know the gun’s always loaded and the horse, he always kicks”. There’s hints of the brand’s British roots with mentions of Lollipop ladies and zebra crossings nicely fitted in between classic Americana imagery. It’s a fitting and well executed ending to the E.P.

Overall, ‘Deadwood’ is an exciting, promising release, one that shows that the boys from Ticho have firmly cemented their place within the modern alternative blues scene with their new project, O Fisher. A vibrant, diverse collection of blues songs, ‘Deadwood’ perfectly summarises the talents of O Fisher and represents them as a band that’s not afraid to take a few risks when addressing such a classic genre. In the case of ‘Deadwood’, it’s clear those risks have paid off.

Words: Charlie Jaco