Fiddlehead – ‘Between The Richness’

By Sean Reid

With their roots in emo and hardcore, it’s no surprise Fiddlehead’s sound has always embraced elements of post-hardcore, post-punk, and indie rock. When compared to the projects they are better known for, which include Have Heart and Basement, 2018’s debut full-length, ‘Springtime and Blind’, showcased a more melodic side.

At its lyrical core, ‘Springtime and Blind’ honed in on vocalist Pat Flynn reflecting on the loss of his father. It resulted in a raw and honest set of songs that left fans yearning for more. Now three years on, the Massachusetts-based group are fulfilling fans wishes for more.

‘Between The Richness’ sees the quintet reacquaint themselves with radiancy. Opening track, ‘Grief Motif’, serves as the bridge between ‘Springtime’ and ‘Richness’, with the use of a quote from poet E.E Cummings; “I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart. I am never without it. Anywhere I go, you go”. Backed with an abundance of urgency, its pairing with ‘The Years’ makes for a strong start.

They soon get into their stride as ‘Million Times’ is a melancholic delight; the combination of wiry guitars, Shawn Costa’s controlled drum work, and Flynn’s romanticised words is executed with plenty of value. Later on, ‘Get My Mind Right’ thrives with driving guitars and complimentary backing vocals from Alex Henery.

While Fiddlehead has somewhat reigned in their punk origins, tracks such as ‘Eternal You’ and ‘Life Notice’ allow them to occasionally erupt with fury. Nevertheless, they don’t stand apart from this set of 10 songs. There is a sonic warmth that threads these songs together. From Flynn’s soaring hooks to Henery and Alex Dow’s tonal guitars, to Casey Nealon’s deep-rooted basslines, to the luscious fills and rhythmic exclamation marks courtesy of Costa, Fiddlehead allow each other to shine without taking away from what really matters – the music.

Throughout, Flynn shows maturity in his lyrics. On ‘Down University’, he comments on the high expectations set by some education institutions while ‘Joyboy’ is empathetic and reflective as he moves on from grieving, allowing him to enjoy fatherhood. This is followed perfectly by the closing track, ‘Heart To Heart’.

Serving as a letter to his young son, who shares the name of his late father, it sees Pat promising to protect the young Richard Flynn at all costs – “When daylight is too dark and night’s last way too long, look into your heart and find me”. Backed by stirring guitars and an energetic rhythm section, it’s a great finale.

Over the course of 26 minutes, Fiddlehead offers plenty of reflective and anthemic moments that are sure to please longtime fans. Although stylistically direct, at its core, ‘Between The Richness’ is empathy. It carries the weight of Flynn’s grief and finds comfort in the ability to heal anybody listening.

SEAN REID

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