By Fran Rodgers
Delicately weaving arpeggios underpin Fran Rodgers' latest single; however don't be fooled that this is fey music for the faint hearted - the minimal instrumentation of voice and guitar creates a level of intimacy and a haunting intensity that is enough to scare the bejesus out of anyone casting a cursory ear over the release.
"I Fell To You Under Winter Sun" is a sombre lament that ponders upon the gradual unravelling of a relationship; although our protagonist informs us that she was once "held captive in the night" by her suitors charms the early romantic intrigue now seems to be gradually fading out of sight- perhaps like a winter sun itself? But enough of this whimsical lyrical analysis - the focal point of the single has to be Rodgers' captivating vocal delivery that projects sadness, beauty and a deft wisdom within each breath. The measured harmonies add to the ghostly, almost ethereal feel of the piece, a mood that is set from the songs introduction that opens with a (very cleverly recorded) reverb-laden drum loop.
Of the backing tracks, "To Long No More" beats a similar downtrodden path , with the minor-key guitar passages helping to create a lilting romantic mood, while "She Dealt Among Th'Untrodden Ways" features bursts of organ from producer Richard Green and sees Rodgers adopting a more narrative approach lyrically.
A great single that is ambitious in scope but simple in execution. Fran Rodgers certainly demonstrates just how powerful the human voice can be when it is placed as the main instrument at the heart of a song. With this latest release On The Bone have certainly demonstrated that they're on the ball - and I think it's probably worth finishing the review by noting that I wouldn't be familiar with Ms. Rodgers' output if it hadn't been for her inclusion on a Bone compilation that I listened to just for the noisy guitar bands.
Shatner is a Leeds based band which does not follow the rules of space and time. Gravity is optional.