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Aren’t: Creatures of Habit

Updated: Feb 2

8/10



Creatures of Habit, fronted by Fionn Richards, have compiled a number of songs written over the last six years, showing how the passage of time has affected its writer’s relationship with others and the world around him. Discussing themes related to responsibility, love and the end of relationships, it’s all set against an enchanting folk-inspired background of acoustics and tender lo-fi production values.


In terms of the overall musical feel, it gets the most out of the intimate folk and acoustic arrangements. The sound of sustained cello notes and slightly dissonant guitar picking gives off a certain melancholy warmth, helped by the fluid string writing that doesn’t so much accompany as intertwine around the vocals, wrapping them in rich textures. It’s as if there’s no foreground and background; vocals and instruments are all one in this world.


The vocals sound too innocent and passive to really understand the emotions that they sing of. The vocal harmonies really bring this out, like two wood nymphs found in the forest at night. It’s helped by the lyrics, which feel helpless with all their questions and statements shrouded in imagery rather than literal meanings. The Black from the Dark keeps asking questions with no clear context, “How could you slip? What made you do it?… How do you cut the black from the dark?”. It’s like they’re not even real people, just the spirit of unanswered questions pending on the mind, living a life of metaphor and intrigue.


At times it seems the music is just made up of various trains of thought intermingling, not really sure where they’re going or of their surroundings. The arrangements add to this with their at times unpolished sound, with the title track’s continual stops sounding natural and partly improvised. But it suits the calm and collected feel of the music, being at peace or one with nature. There’s no struggle here, only acceptance.


This passive wandering pervades everything. The melodies don’t have any hooks or aim to be the catchy, stuck-in-your-head sort. It maintains a natural flow that’s more exploratory than memorable, like a pleasant dream you can’t quite remember after awakening.[1] It’s a mixture of folk and ambient music in some ways.


This is a beautifully arranged and written EP of tracks that obviously have a lot of feeling behind them. A lot of good stuff here and we can all be looking forward to the album if it’s ever to come. Good for fans of folk, classical cross-over folk, and just anyone for a bit of introspection and emotional honesty in their tunes tonight.

[1] Steve Huey, Another Green World Review, https://www.allmusic.com/album/another-green-world-mw0000650120