Callum Ffoulkes aka The Scared Rattler is an artist from Rockingham, Western Australia who doesn’t use much more than a guitar and his vocals on his release The Pleasure Inn. Although Ffoulkes has a minimal setup it works just fine with the type of songs he is playing. It’s hard to pinpoint his style because it fits into the genre of melancholy singer/songwriter but it goes against the typical John Mayer clones you have heard a million times before. The guitar playing is simple yet effective throughout the four songs. His vocals are exceptional. There are subtle qualities about his delivery that is aesthetically pleasing.
The first song “Pleasure Inn” has an old spaghetti western/noir feel that is mysterious and melancholy. It’s the kind of music that seemed like it would have fitted in perfectly well with the second season of True Detective. The guitars are clean, reverb-laced and provide a dreamlike atmosphere. I also liked when Ffoulkes implemented the percussion which was strategically placed to make the song more dynamic. The whistling on the song was also an element that didn’t seem out of place.
The second song “Leave the Girl” is another success. Ffoulkes combines guitar with a walking bass line and subtle synth and percussion. The vocals hold down the fort here and have plenty of space to shine since there is so much space in the mix.
“Dreams To Wake Up To” is even more sparse than the first two songs until the bass and drums enter into the mix. Ffoulkes manages to combine a sense of hope and happiness with the melancholy. The vocal melodies get stuck in your head and you might find yourself whistling along with them if you aren't careful. He closes with “The Framing of Little Jesse Dalton” which contains strumming that gives the song a reggae/ska feel.
The Pleasure Inn EP is an enjoyable experience that points to better things to come from Ffoulkes. I think the next logical step would be for Ffoulkes to do some tweaking on the recording, mixing side of things. If he does that and continues to improve I think it will only be a matter of time before he builds a decent fan base.
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