Fryars is one of pop’s survivors. With over a decade of minor hits, critical acclaim and all sorts of extra-curricular activities as a solo artist, collaborator and producer under his belt, he has established himself as something of a cult pop hero. This time he returns after a bit of a period away with perhaps his most playful and satisfying release yet.
God Melodies is his third album and it sees him indulging in all his whimsical flights of fancy on an easy going yet supremely rewarding collection. There’s a vividness and clarity at work from the first song, the title track lilting beautifully in a graceful waltz (not to mention also featuring some great whistling). One of the underrated sounds in pop history, here it’s emblematic of Fryars’ knack for taking something unexpected and waving it onto something joyous.
The most insistent and striking moment is made in unison with his frequent collaborator and partner Rae Morris on the hook filled single Moscow. Equally important are the glorious string arrangements and musical flourishes provided by long-time collaborator and High Llamas leader Sean O’Hagan. Working in tandem, the pair ramp up the lushness factor to maximum levels here.
The record has a pleasing sensation of feeling light and airy but also cutting deep as his most personal release. Doubt and anxiety peers through on tracks like the glorious synthy dream pop of Orange Juice and the fevered hops and skips of Feeling Lonely Is A Shadowy Glow. Ultimately, however, it’s an album full of hope and possibility, revelling in the transcendent qualities of music and creation.
No longer working on a big scale with major ticket pop stars like Lily Allen, like he has in the past, on this record Fryars adapted his creativity to the requirements of lockdown and his bedroom became his sonic palette. As a result, the record he has created is imbued with organic energy. He doesn’t want to kick the door in and force you to listen to what he has to say, instead, he’s content to let his beautiful melodies gradually seep into your body and caress your soul; truly god melodies sent from musical heaven. Sometimes we may crave something that bit harder and that bit more biting but God Melodies isn’t going to provide that, this isn’t a record for grand statements or thrilling polemic. This is a record that captures the mood of the times, that recognises the importance of coming together and sharing the special things that music can do.