ALBUM REVIEW: Farrago ‘All Beginnings are Illusions’


Farrago is the result of Ian Bennett’s endless meanderings along musical desire lines, flying from the face of “proper jobs” for the appealing and endlessly more fascinating life of a musician. Bands put together with school friends soon disbanded, leaving Bennett to work on his solo project “as a way to stay sane while working an uninspiring office job”, before leaving to travel the world. On his return, he set up Farrago with drummer Graham Brown, bassist Vinnie Colla and guitarist Antonin Venneyre to offer All Beginnings are Illusions for our delectations.

Bennett’s voice is warm, controlled and unaffected. Effortless is the wrong word, as I know the hours singers put into their vocals—la-ing, lie-ing and…erm…lay-ing—so the word could be misconstrued as an insult. Vocals should be treated as another instrument and practised in the same manner, and it is clear that Bennett’s vocal ‘effortlessness’ has come from hours well-spent. There is an ornament in ‘This Spark’—specifically on the words “this bubble”—that makes me smile every time I hear it; the inflection alone near perfectly creates a bubble in the mind.

I’ll say “Jeff Buckley”, though I don’t think it’s an accurate comparison. There are chordal familiarities with Buckley’s work, without the remotest feeling of plagiarism, and the decorative vibrato in Bennett’s vocals rings with a Buckley-esque tone. However Buckley touched a genius that I don’t think Farrago are close to. The songs feel remarkably empty; aside from xylophonic accompaniment and the odd electric break, there’s not a huge amount to go on considering Bennett felt that his solo sound could be embellished with a band. It feels like they’re holding something back; whether this is due to financial or time constraints, it certainly feels like they could do something… more.

I sympathise with the subject matter of the songs, though I don’t think the lyrics are good enough to be given as much prominence as they are afforded in the production, so the emptiness is weighty. I’d like to see the live show: the live vibe could be the missing instrument. All said, All Beginnings are Illusions is a solid work of good songs; this debut EP presents an ear-catching introduction to Farrago, and I sincerely recommend you London folk go to the EP launch at Paper Dress Vintage on 18th September.

Farrago London shows:

Thurs 28 Aug – The Icarus Club at The Pelton Arms

Thursday 18 Sept – EP LAUNCH at Paper Dress Vintage

Tuesday 21 Oct – The Finsbury

Wed 19 Nov – The Bedford

Rhys Bethell