(single Aug 2021)

When a band list their influences as
Arcade Fire, Dire Straits, Beethoven, and Jethro Tull
we think you're quite entitled to yell...
Who? What?

The Fullers.
It’s one of those band names that you hear and you think, yeah okay, The Fullers, they’ve been around for a bit, haven't they?
But then you give their new song a spin and it’s like… Whoa, hang on a mo… I’ve definitely not heard this lot before, this is bloody good...
I must have been thinking of some other The ..llers band.

Like many youngsters, they began their musical explorations as school friends. That was 2018. They were fifteen. Just indie wannabes writing simple 00s-style rock songs.
But, as time's arrow trotted along, it found itself pleasantly surprised to hear the group pursuing a more unconventional musical direction. Under the guidance of singer, classically trained musician, and principal songwriter Peter Neilan, this direction involved string quartets and Beethoven concertos. I kid you not!
So, we'd better have a quick shuftie at this Peter Neilan character, hadn't we?
Singer, songwriter, pianist, violinist, and accordion player. He looks like he should be a pin-up pop star in a boy band. Yet there's obviously more to the man than his nice nose, because these songs he's writing are no longer just run of the mill indie fodder.
Take their last single Crystal Palace for instance. There's an accordion, a violin, a bit of piano, and by the end it’s gone all French... in a buttery brioche by the banks of the Seine sort of...
Well, you get the idea!

But, hang on, because there's more. Actually, there's much more.
For last year's Through The Lens, the boys brought in a chamber quartet; and, of course, that meant more violins, one of those slightly larger violiny type contraptions, and one of those really big standy uppy things as well.
Anyway, it was touted as a chamber quartet... or a string quartet playing chamber music. I don't know. I'm not up with the jargon yet.
And, for your money, you got about a minute's worth of the Emperor Concerto thrown in for free… I swear My IQ went up a few points after listening to that one.
Genre-wise, if you're interested in that sort of pedantry, it's something like an amalgam of soft rock and baroque pop. I'm sure there'll be an official classification out there somewhere... but life is so short!

And now, at long last, we come to latest release Unreal City.
It opens with Paul Heaton singing a Beautiful South song!
And, if anyone tries to tell me that this is not the real Paul Heaton I'll slap them with a glove and challenge them to a duel out in the rose garden.
It's uncanny, quite uncanny... but then, of course, my hearing's not all that it used to be.
Next, and in absolutely no time at all, almost immediately in fact, we are beguiled by just the most beautiful guitar tone that I've heard since Clapton helped out Waters on the Pros and Cons album back in 84*
At half-time, Heaton is sent off. The substitute appears to be some Italian castrato. Yet, this all seems so logical, we just go along with it.
As the song reaches for a conclusion our friendly melody line morphs into a neat little snatch of Beethoven's violin sonata No.5 in F major, and that seems an awfully nice way to finish up, doesn't it?
Train-spotting? You ask.
Yes, on the Isle of Wight, I respond... gingerly!
Not quite the rock 'n' roll scenario you'd normally expect to be firing up the neurons of tomorrows pop superstars. Yet, I'm reliably informed that this is the story of where the foundation stones for Unreal City were first laid.
A trip over the water, to the Isle of Wight, to witness the final journey of some beloved old tube trains, tube trains that, in their heyday, had raced with wild abandon up and down the tracks of London's antiquated underground rail system.
Did you ever wonder what happened to all those old Thomas's, Tobys and Henrys once they'd reached retirement age? No, me neither. I'd just imagined they were parcelled off to the great breaker's yard in the sky. But, no... apparently a few were reprieved and had found themselves enjoying a new lease of life right there on the Isle of Wight.
*Of course, we didn't include John Mayer... as obviously he would have won!

So, here we are on The Isle of Wight, and a redundant seafront signpost screams 'no ball games'.
Redundant, irrelevant, and totally unnecessary of course... because no one plays here anymore, our children are barricaded in bedrooms, trapped in virtual realities, ensnared in a gluey worldwide spider web.
"No ball games? There was no one there to play any ball games anyway. There were no signs of life at all, just boarded-up and abandoned buildings. These lyrics just started popping into my head."
"ʏᴏᴜ ʟᴏᴏᴋ ᴀʟᴏɴɢ ᴛʜᴇ sᴇᴀғʀᴏɴᴛ ᴀɴᴅ ᴄᴀᴛᴄʜ sɪɢʜᴛ ᴏғ ʙʏɢᴏɴᴇ ʟɪᴠᴇs.
ʙᴜᴛ ɪᴛ’s ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴀ ᴄʜɪʟᴅ’s ᴅᴏʟʟ ᴛʜᴀᴛ’s ʟᴇғᴛ ᴏᴜᴛ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ʀᴀɪɴ."
It's a seaside song then, but it's more than just wind and water, it’s sand falling through fingers, it's coastal heritage suffering the indignity of time. And loss, loss of place, loss of community, loss of spirit.
We're all so self-satisfied in our private little worlds that we slowly let fall those things that we collectively once held so dear. We allow our streets and our spaces to crumble and decay... like so much seaside sand falling through our fingers.
The song then seems to sum up The Fullers' viewpoint on the demise of our seaside towns, the abandonment of culture, the struggles of local enterprise.
And it's a passionate and lyrical perspective on the accelerating pace of modern life?

Peter Neilan: Vocals, violin, accordion, guitar, piano.
Bertie Auricchio: Lead guitar.
Luke Selemir: Drums.
Nick Lindsey: Bass guitar.
The Fullers are turning out to be a quirky lot, even their names are a bit quirky,
apart from Nick's that is... but he's a dead ringer for that guy in Radiohead, so...
However, quirky or otherwise, Unreal City represents a tighter more focused application of their songwriting and musical skills than did their previous releases, and this capacity for linear improvement ought to further their pop potential.

Yes I know, we all expected The Fullers to be brothers or something too, or at least for one of them to be actually called Fuller! But, no... quirky as ever, they named themselves after an abandoned cat-litter factory, Fullers Earthworks! Good name for a band that!
The Fullers social links below