Y’all Is Fantasy Island is not a name that rolls off the tongue easily and when this Indie band from Falkirk, Scotland split in 2010 few grieved and many, myself included, didn’t even know they existed.
I came across them while reviewing the excellent new album by Adam Stafford who was the band’s lead singer and driving force.
Stafford has his own record label Wise Blood Industries (which I like to think was named after Flannery O’Connor’s sublime novel) and if you go to the label website you will find a link to a zipped file containing the complete works of Y’all Is Fantasy Island – 55 songs and 5 albums.
The cynic in me thought that if he was now giving all these away tracks they must have been crap so I was, to coin an overused phrase, blown away by how good they are/were. An album called No Ceremony is particularly impressive.
Sure, it is derivative (what isn’t?) but they have processed their influences in a way that sounds pretty dynamic to my ears. You can tell they had fully absorbed their albums of gothic alt.country like Songs:Ohio and Will Oldham’s various incarnations of Palace together with a healthy diet of Grunge. It will cost you nothing to take a listen for yourself.
And while you’re about it you really must near the aforementioned Adam Stafford solo album called Imaginary Walls Collapse and is out now on Song, By Toad Records.
The title comes from Howl by Allen Ginsberg the context for which goes like this:
“I’m with you in Rockland
where we wake up electrified out of the coma by our own souls’ airplanes roaring over the roof they’ve come to drop angelic bombs the hospital illuminates itself imaginary walls collapse O skinny legions run outside O starry-spangled shock of mercy the eternal war is here O victory forget your underwear we’re free”
Stafford’s album is an eclectic, experimental work but you can still hum along to it and sing along too if you are so inclined,although the words are as obtuse and ambiguous as the poetic source.
He is a talented fellow all round as he is also making waves as a filmmaker. He shot a video for The Twilight Sad‘s Seven Years Of Letters and an award-winning short film The Shutdown with words from Falkirk novelist Alan Bissett. He has just kickstarted a new film called No Hope For Men Below about a mining disaster in 1923 with words in Scots from poet, Janet Paisley.
Plenty to check out in other words and here are the relevant links to help you on your way together with a couple of videos to give you an idea of what Stafford sounds like.
The first is Shot-down You Summer Wannabes, an example of vocal gymnastics from his debut solo release Build A Harbour Immediately while Vanishing Tanks from the new records adds electric guitar to the beatboxing:
- My review of Imaginary Walls Collapse (Whisperin’ & Hollerin’)
- On The Radar (feature October 2011)
- To Build A Harbour Immediately (Bandcamp link to album)
- Interview with The Skinny
- Adam Stafford on Tumblr
- No Hope For Men Below (Documentary funded through Kickstarter)