Though Noah And The Whale may be no more, their ex members still live on and are pursuing new directions, including ex-guitarist and keyboardist Fred Abbott. His debut release, Serious Poke, still holds onto the charming elements of his old band, but largely takes on a rock ‘n’ roll sound reminiscent of Kings of Leon or The Black Keys.
But this album is far from conceited or extravagant as you might expect from said sound. On the contrary, what Abbott has created is refreshingly unrefined and hugely personable in a way that is deeply charming.
The most recent single from the album, ‘Adrenaline Shot’, is irresistible with its elevating and seamless sound pulled together by ambient electric guitar and memorable chorus. And yet some of Abbott’s Noah And The Whale days do show through, especially in the vocals of heartening track ‘Honey’.
Since Abbott is best known as a guitarist it’s no surprise that Serious Poke is packed with smooth rock riffs. Both ‘Funny How Good It Feels’ and ‘Hollywood’ are summer-ready songs with a playful mood and tantalising guitar solos that can’t help but make you smile.
What shines through in the lyrical style of this album is a magically engaging fondness for storytelling. His honey-sweet deep vocals engross you in the love and loss tale of ‘Awake’, and touch you in a poignant story of domestic violence in ‘Don’t Look Like Him’. Most notably in the latter track, his charmed style manages to rose-tint even the darkest and saddest of topics.
Indeed, much of the album has a particularly bittersweet disposition that perfectly suits Abbott’s vocal and lyrical style. The simply-played piano of ‘Still Told A Lie’ creates a melancholy but heartening mood while the sweet unassuming vocals manage to both hearten and sadden you. The same goes for ‘Lucky People’, which speaks of both the treasure of love and the rarity of it.
Though at first Fred Abbott’s offerings can seem a little safe and awkward, a closer listen reveals a charming and unassuming musical wonder, washed with ambient positivity. Its rock ‘n’ roll vibe is irresistible and its bittersweet moments are touching. A fantastic first offering from Fred Abbott’s solo career.
Serious Poke is released on 24th July via Lojinx.