Neighbourhoods is Fergus Hambleton’s first album since 2015’s Written On The Wind. It is the perfect follow up, and once again he does not disappoint. This is a well-produced and well-arranged folk-pop album, and with a tinge of reggae, it all melds together to form Hambleton’s own unique style.
Perhaps most striking on this album is the use of vocals. Hambleton has never sounded better, and the use of harmonies and backup singers works extremely well. The vocals at times are very subtle, as on “A Good Place To Be”, and other times they almost become a duet, as heard in “Late September Song”. In all instances, they add a wonderful texture and layer to the album.
Hambleton is not afraid to use lush arrangements. “A Wedding Song”, with its full orchestrations, is a song that glides along and takes the listener with it. One of the highlights of the album, it is a beautiful love song that could certainly be heard at weddings.
When he dips deeper into folk, with a traditional song such as “Pretty Peggy-O”, one hears the pleasure in his voice. One also hears a much barer arrangement than on “A Wedding Song”, and it is quite effective. He knows what the song needs. Although he strays from the original lyrics, “Pretty Peggy-O” is still very traditional-sounding, and he creates a lovely feel with it. It is the perfect way to end the album.
With Neighbourhoods,Hambleton visits not geographical places, but also music communities with which he has ties. The album brings together the genres which he has been a part of for many years. He easily goes from one style to the other as if taking a walk through old neighbourhoods – neighbourhoods with which he is very familiar, and in which he has many friends.
This is perhaps Hambleton’s best album yet. It is triumphant from beginning to end, utilizing many styles with that wonderful voice of his throughout.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: FERGUS HAMBLETON – NEIGHBOURHOODS