Fyfe - Control

by Jed Fletcher

It’s been more than four years since Paul Dixon initiated his mainstream music career under the masked alias, David’s Lyre. Now, he’s dominating the blogosphere with his debut album under a new moniker: Fyfe. The guy’s undoubtedly got bags of talent, amassing rave reviews for his solo live performances comprising of simply his voice and guitar. The album is named Control, matching the name of the final song on the tracklist, which I think bears some significance.

The extent of Dixon’s musical aptitude is encapsulated by the relentlessly consistent sound of each song on the LP. If you’re looking for a wide variety of sounds and experimentation, Control will be a great disappointment. The charm of the record however, is that somehow, each song has you hooked by its own right. The fluid guitar, which persists as a key feature of each song, and the droning vocals congeal to create a thoroughly enticing sound.

If you’re going to go ahead and get the whole album, it’s a fascinating listen. It’s about a relationship, but Dixon makes it that bit more interesting by reversing the storyline that he’s telling. The track, Control, opens the relationship at the point where Fyfe feels he’s found the one, as we regress to the album’s opener, Conversations, we hear the love take control of the artist before breaking down, leaving us with the solemn ambiguity which begins the album.

The best of this LP is the product of a sublimely intriguing hi-fi detail to Dixon’s plucking at his trusty guitar. Adding to this, the man knows how to write lyrics – the words to his songs are both complementary to his vocal style and evocative. The shiniest of the gems on display in this album is Solace, which is featured in its video form on the front page of Fyfe’s website. Solace seems to be about the adjustment to single life, and the accompanying video is a quasi-performance-based video, showing an initially colourful Dixon performing as he is stripped of his colour to reveal him as his vulnerable self. Solace comprises the epitome of Fyfe’s appeal; a profoundly simple four-note descent which I can’t get enough of. We get the same desirable characteristics in Keep It Together, which incorporates some bleeping electro keys into the winning guitar melodies.

The closest thing we have to a real variety within the album is the contrast between St. Tropez and For You; these tracks showcase the extreme ends of Control’s tonal spectrum. The former infuses more electro than the other songs on the LP, its folky intro compounding this. As well as the instrumental differences St. Tropez has with For You, it’s probably the song where we hear Dixon singing at the highest pitch and with the most feeling. In For You, the most draining track on the record, Fyfe’s vocals are still strong and clear as ever, but there’s comparatively much less deviation from the base note of the song. Compared to St. Tropez, which depicts an interactive scene in a sunny, real-world setting, For You is a frustrated cry of internalised emotion. My favourite lyric in the album comes in For You, with the emotive line: “Tears would speak, but tears won’t come out”. The dramatic saxophone conclusion, I feel, makes what would otherwise be a quite repetitive and basic song, into the stand-out track that it is.

So there you have it. Fyfe hasn’t debuted with the boldest of albums with Control, but he’s sacrificed variety for pure quality. I was hanging on every note and there wasn’t a song on the album that I didn’t like, to be honest. The layout and the lyrical themes within the album make it all the more addicting as an entity. The fact that these aspects are blended with an impeccably tight instrumental production is just incredible. Dixon’s been releasing Control song-by-song since the beginning of the year and he had me since the off; I hate to concede things like this, but I think Fyfe’s debut might just be one of my top albums for 2015. If you don’t get to download Control, keep an eye out for Fyfe – he’s a talent far beyond the ordinary.