The Promise Of Strangers

The Fugitives

Borealis Records, 2018

http://www.fugitives.ca

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/27/2018

The Fugitives is staples of the Canadian folk scene that have released four albums since 2007, spent time on the folk charts, and received many nominations at award shows. But, perhaps most importantly, the outfit knows how to tell a compelling story in song, as their core pair (Brendan McLeod and Adrian Glynn) concerns themselves with eloquent lyrics and meticulous details. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“No Words” starts the album off hushed and bare, where calm singing and sparse guitar erupt into a gospel and folk rock song. A tune dedicated to Leonard Cohen, it possesses the timeless beauty of Cohen's own work. “See This Winter Out” follows and is a warm folk tune in the vein of Paul Simon with some great banjo work. Next up, the piano balladry of “Till It Feels Like Home” also hits very high notes among strummed acoustic guitars and light percussion that build into a glorious soft-rock tune.

The middle of the album brings us the banjo and organs of “Northern Lights,” which moves into folk-pop territory, and “Goodnight Everybody” brings out all the great things we loved about Ryan Adams in the mid 2000s. One of the stand out tunes, “London In The Sixties,” then brings horns to the equation and a saxophone solo, showing incredible diversity.

Every track here is dedicated to either someone or a group of people. “Orlando,” a tune for the victims and survivors of the shooting tragedy, is a soft emotive moments, as is “Lights Out” dedicated to Adam Capay, who has spent 1500+ days in solitary confinement without a trial. Both of these tunes illustrate the timeless beauty and accomplished musicianship The Fugitives possesses, as well as their interest in important social/political matters.

The Fugitives brings to mind greats like Mumford & Sons, The Decemberists, and even Jason Mraz, though they're certainly carving out a sound entirely their own. If you're a first time listener, this is an ideal start; each tune on this album radiates in its own light.

Rating: B+

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