(02 June 2002) The third album from Fula is and eight-track collection entitled The Beautiful, The Delicate and The True (Fulamusic (UK) FCD3, 2002). This album is the first with vocalist Josie Bostin who joined the band in 2002 following the departure of Zoe Stafford and Nadeen Plant earlier. The album was recently remixed to bring the vocals further up.
Dark Matter (review) released in 1999 featured the vocal work of Zoe Stafford. Stafford has gone on to other projects and is presently with One Window. Songs From The Merrygolight (review) features the vocal work of Nadeen Plant. Nadeen is presently not working in music but will be featured in a followup reissue of Fula's earlier work later in 2002.
The powerful progressive instrumental "Brazil" opens the album and is followed immediately by the lushly arranged "Ballerina Junkies" featuring layers of Josie's tender and sweetly sugn vocals backed by a thick and mid-tempo guitar arrangement. While her style is somewhat similar to the band's earlier singers, Josie lacks the power and range to completely compliment Fula's arrangements. Multiple guitar solos within the number continue to show Jason Gilman's virtuousity. Gilman left Fula just after the album was mixed.
The vocals in the standout upbeat rocking tune "Siren" are stunning with layers working quite well with the band's lush wall-of-sound guitar- and keyboard-based arrangement. A contrast is clearly heard in the progressive ballad "White Lillies," sung as a single layer on the lightest keyboard and guitar arrangement with crisp percussion holding the rhythm section together. "Buried" is an upbeat rocker dominated again by thick instrumental arrangements, crisp percussion and Bostin's vocal layers.
The album's second instrumental, "Save Our Souls," is dominated by moody soundtrack-style keyboards. A powerful and well-played Arjen Lucassen-style guitar solo compliments the sound. "Code Red" is a percussively and highly rhythmic rocker. Josie's vocal layers are supported by keyboard, guitar and crisp percussion musically similar to the style found on Dark Matter. We especially enjoyed the keyboard solos within the track.
The album closes with "Living In Pieces Part 10" obviously the concluding instrumental of the epic with the same title from Songs From The Merrygolight that was not included there. One can clearly hear the original theme but the instrumental arrangement here is thicker and far more lush with vast keyboard excursions adding to the power of the tune.
While their music has developed further since Dark Matter and the band members' individual talents have become stronger, we found the band's two earlier vocalists--Nadeen Plant and Zoe Stafford--each somewhat stronger than the former with more individual virtuousity than Josie Bostin, who thankfully remains at the beginning of her singing career. The band have catered for this in the final mix of The Beautiful, The Delicate and The True by mixing the layers up a bit. Two tracks from the pre-production demo were dropped from the final version. It is a shame that the lovely ballad and pre-production demo standout entitled "Serpentine" got the chop.
It will be exciting to see Fula perform the material live in the coming months. The album is available at the band's website; click on the album cover to learn more. Clearly worth a journey, this album is a very nice listen!.