The debut album from Constant Follower, Neither Is, Nor Ever Was, is solitary, forlorn, and wild – and in all the best ways possible. The instrumentation is stripped down to some guitar, synths, and bass, all utilised sparingly to devastating effect.
Frontman Stephen McAll’s understated vocals add a level of grounding to the record, preventing anything from becoming too floaty; anchoring the listener as they drift through ambivalent dreamscapes. Vocal harmonies populate the record nicely.
The one-two punch of ‘Spirits In The Roof Tree’ and ‘Altona’ at the record’s halfway point especially stand out. ‘Spirits In The Roof Tree’, a lament for relationships, is utterly singular in its melancholy. ‘You know I’ll never leave you / What’s my life without you / I know we’ll always be’, drifts on and on – the need to feel close to someone while facing an obstacle, encapsulated.
This moves into ‘Altona’, the biggest tonal departure on the record. It feels at the same time more lively and also more forbidding – you feel as though someone is calling out to you from beyond the fog. From here reality starts to call into the dream.
Constant Follower have produced a sublime, mature, empathetic record. It’s not so much one that demands to be heard, but once you hit play, you will demand to hear it all.