Badhands – Far Away
Daniel Fitzpatrick, the songwriter behind Badhands, has recently written scores for award-winning wildlife documentaries. This experience of composing music with visuals in mind can be heard on Badhands’ new album Far Away, which frequently sounds luxuriously cinematic.
Opener When I Think About You introduces us to Fitzpatrick’s sonic world, where a simple electric piano melody builds to an expansive and spacey gospel refrain with the help of layers of Fitzpatrick’s gravelly croon, reverberating guitars and looping drums. The Wait is another highlight, with a Beatles-esque guitar riff and arresting vocal harmonies. Fitzpatrick clearly knows his way around a memorable melody and interesting chord progressions.
If the album has a weakness, it’s that the lyrics don’t always capture the imagination the same way that the music does. On First Of The Day, a portrait of a troubled soul having a drink a little earlier than they ought to, the protagonist fills up their glass with ‘sorrow’, ‘sin’ and ‘shame’ and takes a sip that results in them having the revelation that ‘I was blind / now I can see’. Sequences like this would benefit from Fitzpatrick grabbing his characters and rolling around in the dirt with them for a bit to come up with some weird and memorable details to bring the song to the next level. However, every lyric is elevated by Fitzpatrick’s strikingly unique voice, which has a character that grabs your ear as he flows with ease from gravelly baritone to sweeping falsetto over the course of the album.
Words: Joe Joyce