Future Self - the new songbook from Filligar
The Force of the Feeling, the first track of Filligar's new Future Self, comes off a bit like a rediscovery. These are young men with experienced souls - and like all of us they are getting back to life after hiatuses and side-journeys. The "Force" is a perfect opener for an album full of disparate stories.
As I listen, I picture the first scenes of Indiana Jones where the weary adventurer finds the vine-covered steps to the long-abandoned stone temple obscured by trees and an impossible canopy of time. The album begins with soft, plodding drum beats, a bit of suppressed, jangly guitar and punctuated by piano. This gives rise to a slow number subdued but swanky and while new, it feels familiar. Singer Johnny Mathias leads us into the temple and his words, "Time goes by, and by and by.." set the tone. What follows is the most adventuresome record of the band's near-16 years of existence and it marks a new beginning.
"Welcome Back, welcome back - to the beginning" starts 17th Hour - an ebullient dervish of a track, a song with an entirely different instrumentation backdrop which signals a new start. This is a repeating theme on this album and it truly works. And then At Sea starts to roll;
From here on in, the band enter uncharted territory. The record feels like a convergence of several tales set adrift and bound together like a storybook. The common thread is cinematic, fearless presentation.
MARCH 2022 ALBUM OF THE MONTH - Future Self was a delight right out of the box. I was pleased to find the band didn't re-enter the studio and attempt to make a record they could sell. This is a hodge-podge of themes - and here it really works. This record is a healthy new start for a band who has effortlessly executed in the past.
For fans of Dawes, Kasabian and Keane. The album is both exciting and new but it isn't a complete departure. Filligar still produces hooky beats and feel good anthems but those tracks are now fully representative of the band and it's members. Casey Gibson's award-nominations for his solo piano debut, and the band's previous efforts Hexagon and Keepsakes of the Interior are all points in the rearview mirror at this point. But this is their history and their road. Somehow Future Self is both more free and fluid yet more mature.
So much has changed for fans of Filligar yet this band's endless pursuit of purpose through music and the vitality of their work product are still trademark and palpable. Future Self is proof that an already great band can work on itself, find new ways to execute and thrive.