Everything on Memory by Small Isles album review by Zara Hedderman


Everything on Memory

Small Isles

In times when you have so much to say, when your mouth is racing to keep up with your train of thought, sometimes it can be easier to process feelings or convey a message without even uttering a single word. Actions and gestures resonate as effectively, and in certain instances are more welcomed, in an already loud and overwhelming world. On his latest release, an EP entitled Everything On Memory, California-born songwriter Jim Fairchild noted, “I think people are ready for more implication than explanation. I have plenty to say. I just want to do it without words for a while.”

This has resulted in a highly expressive and emotive seven-track EP which is expansive and conveys a depth of self-exploration in its ambitious compositions. Its generally tempered nature, established from the offset with the ethereal motifs trickling through the captivating opener “Sure I’m Happy”, effectively draws listeners into this work and provides soothing, meditative atmospheres. Explosions In The Sky and Sigur Rós will certainly come to listeners mind whilst immersed in Everything On Memories production style, yet there are also hints of Father John Misty or the luminous vocal tones of Midlake on songs such the fairytale-like “This Much I Know”, while the romantic twinkles that illuminate “A Left In The Sun” herald the endlessly dreamy compositions of Patrick Watson. Elsewhere, a touch of Radiohead-like melancholic underpins “Dewdrop Daybreak” while you cannot help but feel a kinship between “People Come Down” which bears a similar playfulness that is present in some of Sufjan Stevens’ lighter work.

Fairchild, stepping outside of his familiar roles within Grandaddy and Modest Mouse, ventured into composing for film recently when he scored the documentary Common Ground. The cinematic approach to music in helping tell a story is abundantly applied to these songs, particularly in the moments where string accompaniments swell, notably on closer “The Rest is History” and “Unfulfilled Potential”, which contains an endearing inherent curiosity in the tones and textures lending a great sense of character to the song. One of the many assets of Fairchild’s

latest offering under the Small Isles moniker, is the consideration and breathing room he extends to each musical element that makes up these spacious arrangements. Combining synths, strings, electronic textures, guitar, percussion and vocal harmonies, Fairchild presents a very fulfilling palette that consistently captivates audiences. The fun of building this worlds – some familiar and others feeling completely alien – is palpable, yet Fairchild never loses the run of himself within these songs. There’s an admirable restrain (in the best possible way) which means that you never feel overwhelmed by the work, instead the songs leave you excited to delve deeper into them.

Everything On Memory is an excellent body of work which effortlessly connects with its audience and expresses a wealth of insight in its musicality.

Order Everything on Memory by Small Isles HERE


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