Regular members of Sydney’s underground music scene, Fergus Bailey & The Teeth have picked up a pair of oversized scissors and cut one of those giant ribbons to unveiled their debut full-length, Unfurl. It’s an album of slow burning firecrackers that erupt into a dazzling array of high class instrumentation.
“How I Touch The World” kicks off the record; a track that’s been sprayed with Windex. It’s clean and transparent with tropical licks of guitar that reach out to shake your hand. Then, as most of Unfurl‘s tracks do, a new and absorbing section surfaces. The entire track is warm in character, but the bridge is a different kind of warm. Like submerging yourself in a hot bath, compared to the rest of the song, which is basking in the sun with a coconut daiquiri.
The third single from the album, “Dancing” gives off a comforting sense of nostalgia despite never having heard it before. It’s reminiscent of Minnesota punks, The Replacements, mixed in with a splash of Samba.
Highlight track, “Blood On The Years” is the “Bohemian Rhapsody” of Sydney alternative rock (but far, far cooler). This track is what Fergus’ voice was made for. A seven-minute expulsion of passion, complete with whirling guitar and liberal use of floor tom.
But the most intimate vocal performance of the record can be heard in “Grace”. The marching snare pairs beautifully with Fergus’ gravelly vocals as he opens up, “I’m sorry I haven’t visited your grave/ I never seem to find the time.” The permissive guitar that signals the final half of the track will transport you to a courtyard in Italy. You’ll go to take a sip from your glass of wine, only to realise it’s actually a harmonica, and that now, you’re part of a finale that the word finale was invented for.
Another single, and final track of the album, “Alone In The Night” is driven by bass that accents an astute progression of chords. Just shy of three-minutes into the piece, a stunning, oscillating guitar slinks it’s way into the mix and pushes the song to thrive as an album finisher.
The first time I listened to the album, I knew it was good. But it wasn’t until my second run through that I realised, “this is actually a world class record.” It’s full of these little intricacies that enrich some really gorgeous melodies. Unfurl is out now on your go-to streaming platform or you could even, you know… buy a physical copy.