Friday 22 March 2019

LISTEN: Fil Bo Riva - 'Beautiful Sadness'

One of the best perks of running this blog for the past few years is all of the brilliant music that I get sent to review on a daily basis. There's usually a lot to listen to, and it isn't always to my taste, but I love having the chance of finding absolute gems in my inbox that I might otherwise not have discovered. This was the case back in 2016 when I was sent Like Eye Did in an email - the debut single from Fil Bo Riva, aka Rome-born Filippo Bonamici. 

At the time I gave the track a glowing review and wrote that it was "no surprise I'm being sent PR for a singer-songwriter who is half-Italian, the amount I ramble on about Jack Savoretti" - which is probably still entirely accurate. His surprisingly husky vocals gripped me instantly, and he remains one of my favourite discoveries of the last few years. I've since caught two live performances from Fil and the band and had the honour of interviewing him for the blog a year ago. I am therefore very excited to share the news that his debut album Beautiful Sadness is released into the world today!

The record follows the release of a string of singles, the incredible If You're Right, It's Alright EP, three sold out tours and a nomination for the Europe Talent Award. Fil's vision for the record was simple - to deliver songs that are "not too modern, and not too old" and that could "stand the test of time." I'd say that this vision has been realised!

In Beautiful Sadness we're presented with a mixture of tracks delivering a series of opposing sounds and emotions which fit together intricately to paint a beautiful picture. The record is the culmination of two years of work for Fil, guitarist Felix A Remm and producer Robert Stephenson, a length of time which is almost tangible through the tracks, which are intensely contemporary while also hinting towards older styles of music. This is noted most clearly in latest single L'impossible, where autotune verses are twinned with more classical sounding choruses sang in Italian, creating one of the stand-out tracks of the record.

Discussing the writing process, Fil explains that "I wrote about things I was going through; issues, problems, and beautiful things with my girlfriend." This personal writing style delivers authenticity in the tracks, and provides us with an overarching theme of love through the record with lines such as the hopelessly romantic "it feels so right I could die, loving you" in Blindmaker, "you mean too much to me" in Radio Fire and "I'm tryna get control of this love" on Head Sonata (Love Control), which was the first taste of the album and remains a particular favourite of mine.

Also worth mention is the epic nine (!) minute track Different But One, another highlight of the record for me. That track alone takes us on quite the musical journey. Enough rambling from me... check out the record for yourself on Spotify here and buy/stream your copy here!

Fil Bo Riva heads out on the Beautiful Sadness tour in April and May, including a show at London's Oslo Hackney on May 1st. A FBR show is a raucous, beautiful and inspiring event and I would wholeheartedly recommend you check out the full dates and grab your tickets here.

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