50thirdand3rd

Bendigo Fletcher – “Memory Fever” – Soul Step Records REVIEW

My sister lives in Louisville Kentucky so I’ve spent a lot of time there over the past 20 years. As a lifelong resident of Chicago, the biggest takeaway I get from Louisville is the authenticity of its inhabitants. With such a diverse population, from millionaire horse farmers, sports aficionados, to the common middle class, Louisville is oozing personal history. All of which not manipulated by pretense. What you see is what you get, and what you get is heartfelt and authentic.

The same can be said for Bendigo Fletcher. After a series of EPs (2 of which covered here at 50Thirdand3rd in a single collection), the Lousiville folk-pop outfit has returned with the aptly titled Memory Fever on Soul Step Records. Combining elements of traditional folk and bluegrass with a fine, candy-coated layer of pop, Bendigo Fletcher is difficult to peg with a single label. But no matter how you slice it, this is a band that has crafted something as beautiful as their home state’s painting-esque landscape.

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With Soul Step’s previous release, the label showcased a young band coming to terms with broken hearts then the battle-tested experience of getting over it. With Memory Fever, the vibes are less about one’s experiences in real-time, and more about how or memories can romanticize said experiences in wonderfully exaggerated ways. Be it an unrequited love or an anthem about a rollercoaster, Bendigo Fletcher describes the things about life you’ll never forget if they weren’t so trivial.

Despite taking a less emotional stance with Memory Fever, Bendigo Fletcher hasn’t changed their approach to songwriting or production. The tasteful harmonies, jangly guitars, and swirling production elevates even the simplest of tracks throughout the release. This is a band that experiments without compromising its core mythos. All the emotion, charisma, and unexpected hooks from previous releases are front and center but now enhanced by focus. I can’t speak for the songwriters, but I’m willing to bet things were looking a lot less dire on this go-around.

Limited to only 100 records in ‘Lakewater Blue’ variant, Soul Step Records understands how Memory Fever is even better on vinyl. The nuance of raw production coming through the warmth of the format feels like Bendigo Fletcher’s memories are your very own. Just like the people of Louisville, Kentucky, Memory Fever is a satisfying exercise in honest-to-God authenticity, and I can’t wait to pay it another visit.


Memory Fever is available on vinyl exclusively through Soul Step Records.

 

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Aaron The Audiophile

Son, brother, uncle, musician. I enjoy music of all genres, shapes and sizes, preferably the good kind.

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