You have to wonder if Edinburgh’s indie music fans are prepared to take a chance on relatively unknown bands any more. With little cash to spare these days, most people choose to save their loot for weekend gigs – to see groups they are already familiar with.
Therefore touring combos who play earlier in the week, such as Leeds-based outfit Fossil Collective – a band whose lush, sweeping tunes are well worthy of closer inspection – end up playing to around 30 people (as they did at Sneaky Pete’s last night), wondering why they bother.
To be fair, though, there seem to be more bands around than ever just now, and with everyone demanding attention, it’s difficult to decide on who should receive your hard earned. So, is FC worthy?
Led by Dave Fendick (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Jonny Hooker (drums), at first glance Fossil Collective doesn’t appear to be the most visual or charismatic of bands. Self-conscious, dour-in-the-mouth, the first few bars to the opening song sounded so much like Keane and Turin Breaks there was a sinking feeling you’d stumbled across a covers act that ought to have been playing in a Grassmarket pub instead. Then Fendick started to sing.
A man with an epic, perfectly-tuned voice, by the end of the song there was no doubt he ought to be singing in much, much larger venues. Indeed, as the old saying goes: never judge a book by its cover.
Backed by a lush, smoothly-quiet quartet, Fendick and Hooker’s assembly literally swept from dreary indie of the sub-Radiohead variety, to the sort of sweeping Americana that you might associate with big alt-country groups such as Wilco. It was odd. Here we had a small, dark venue, yet the music on show conjured up images of breezy, mid-west America corn fields instead: the perfect kind of music for slowing down after the sun had set on a lovely, warm summer’s day.
If there is a criticism, it’s that the tempos remain the same throughout. Minor chords do indeed evoke a melancholic mood, but not every song requires it. Nevertheless, this collective are a bunch of fossils well worth digging up and discovering.