The Douglas Firs - Happy as a Windless Flag
For some bands a debut album is an opportunity to find an audience, conservatively plough a couple of musical furrows with the hope of doing something more in albums to come. With Happy As A Windless Flag The Douglas Firs have tossed aside this template and released an album ripe with invention, each track only giving limited clues as to what is to come next.
Driven by Neil Insh, The Douglas Firs draw from their Scottish surroundings. The seven year gestation for this record can be felt in the denseness and variety of the musical textures present. However, this isn’t an album saturated with bells and whistles over structured coherent songs. It is more that everything present has been thought through to ensure it adds, not takes away.
Those hoping to pigeon hole bands should pick another target. There are touches of folk, post-rock and indie sounds flowing through these tracks but the whole should be labelled “The Douglas Firs” rather than a more simplistic classification. From the romance of “Balance of Halves” to the violence of “I Will Kill Again”, from the contemplative “Sepulture” to the joy of "The Quickening" this is an album that is rich in content, rewarding and worth spending time with.
The Douglas Firs probably don’t know how good they are. It’s probably best not to tell them as that will spoil everything. For everyone else, take a deep dive into this thoughtful, textured album.