BEFORE NIGHTFALL was an impressive release from Dear Friends. but their latest release Tales from the den is a step up in every way. The production value and recording quality are improved and the songwriting also feels more refined as well.
Chris Parkinson, Karl Sykes, Fraser Mann, James Reid, and Matt Odell are the members and I have little doubt they put an ample amount of effort into Tales from the den. There is just too much detail and nuance within these songs for the band members to not have spent a lot of their waking hours working on these songs.
The music can feel feel triumphant, heartfelt and has a delicate balance between melancholy and hope. I would argue that the emotional resonance you feel when listening to these songs is comparable to Fleet Foxes some of the time.
The album opens with “Out Of Nowhere” which seems to deal with a lost love who found their way back into their lover’s arms. I thought the first half of the song felt like one build up to the grand transition that happens around the halfway mark. The guitar lines are melodic, the vocals are powerful and the song is a great opener. They got my attention with the first song.
The second track “Whistler” is where you will hear some similarities to Fleet Foxes but there are a number of factors which give the song a distinct flavor that defines Dear Friends. such as the horn section which is exceptional. The energy is kinetic and vibrant. I’m not sure how you could not appreciate this song.
The band slows things down with “You Know You're Right”. It works perfectly as the third song that transitions into “The Underground”. “The Underground” starts off sparse with fantastic vocal harmonies and guitar. The song builds into one of the most intense crescendos you will hear on the album.
As the album progresses the band keeps hitting all the right points. Not every song was a complete home run but there is very little not to enjoy here. “Before Nightfall (Death of a Drunken Soldier” and “Walking Through Crowds” were the other highlights that stuck out in my mind. They close huge with “Take It Back”.
Tales from the den is an exceptional album that showcases the talent the band has. Hopefully the proper recognition will follow. Highly Recommended.
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