A release which you may have missed upon its unveiling yet proving one of the most compelling encounters of 2020 is the latest album from singer songwriter Fred Abong. Raw yet accomplished, dark but with an infectious lustre, Our Mother of Perpetual Help is a collection of tracks which draw ears and imagination like few others and takes both on a stroll of aural dexterity and emotive reflection with each song verging on a creative clamour and all proving a seed for compulsion.
References to Abong’s sound include the likes of Nirvana, Replacements, Elliot Smith, and Nick Drake; all easy to understand if its uniqueness for us captivates more like a fusion of the crepuscular prowess of Syd Barrett and the DIY adroitness of Nikki Sudden. Our Mother of Perpetual Help is an encounter which resonates with the bold independent individuality of seventies punk and the gloomy yet alluring intimacy of its creator and his adroit lyricism. Abong’s bass prowess, which is probably best known previously in Throwing Muses during their Real Ramona period, just as potently ignited and enthralled attention too, each track seeming to build from the heart of his writing and the throaty twang of his prime enticement for an organic union which effortlessly bred our captivation.
The Minit opens up the release, water lapping upon a lonely shore in a landscape shaped by the melancholic tone and swing of Abong’s bass and his just as unprocessed tones. The inherent catchiness proven in his songs is just as swiftly at work, guitar and rhythmic hinting adding to the captivation drawing an already keen attention to the release.
A fuller proposal of sound follows with OMOPH, its sonic resonance a cloud of creative commotion around calm but eager enterprise and emotive incitement while Worm burrowed under the skin with a melodic din and earthy resonance cast by bass and voice. All three of the songs are united in seed and craft and individual in sonic bloom and dextrous enticement, traits echoed within their successor, Kissing Carnival. A slice of Abong’s isolated enterprise and sound, it is unmilled indie pop in its most infectious form and another deeply entrenched in no time.
Through the organic swing of Electro Panic and its subsequent plaintive stroll and the equally enticingly noisy lure of The Lock, the album adds further layers of intrigue and creative tumult to its pleasure, Cork in turn sharing a twang threaded shuffle to be compelled by; a whiff of the Brilliant Corners adding to its particular magnetism.
It is fair to say that Our Mother of Perpetual Help almost song by song tightened its hold on ears and appetite, the release following our favourite track with the more subdued but thickly enticing call of In Bed before the outstanding Invisible Man uncages its minimalistic but dramatic presence through Abong’s ever enslaving bass dexterity and its seductive clang. Noise bound guitars join the provocative breath of the song, its melancholic air a clamour of seduction easy to succumb to.
Closed up by Capital P and its impassioned melodic unrest, the song carrying a slight XTC scent to its rural character, the album from a potent first offering has simply intensified its hold and captivation by the listen. Maybe the word unique is overused by all these days but there are few if any with the creative peculiarities of Fred Abong and a distinction of sound which has made Our Mother of Perpetual Help one of last year’s more striking discoveries.
Our Mother of Perpetual Help is available @ https://fredabong.bandcamp.com/album/our-mother-of-perpetual-help
Pete RingMaster 04/05/2021
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