When I last heard from Fraser McGowan’s Caught In The Wake Forever on 2012’s ‘Against A Simple Wooden Cross’, I was given a very tangible insight into his breakdown. It was a compelling but often uncomfortable listening experience but one where his musical prowess always won the day. Thankfully, McGowan has continued to find solace in music and this is his third solo release since that time.
Painful self-analysis may still be high on the agenda judging by the title to ‘I Know I’ve Suffered More Than Most’; its downbeat guitar line and minimal electronica will be familiar to followers of Yellow6 (who McGowan has previously collaborated with). ‘A Morning Without Decay’ is similarly languid but here the pretty piano keys twinkle and indicate there is some hope out there. Further on, abstract pieces such as ‘At Least You Had My Cigarettes’ and ‘Black Nectar’ offer fascinating experimental tangents to surround the haunting ambient washes so prevalent on ‘Castle Semple Loch’. Then finally, for the last two tracks, (‘All That I Try To Console’ and ‘This House Is Not The Same’) McGowan finds beauty and warmth respectively amongst the despair.
‘False Haven’ is nowhere near as harrowing as ‘Against A Simple Wooden Cross’ but that doesn’t mean it’s any bleaker in tone. What is different is that, shorn of McGowan’s own voice recordings, listening to these compositions is a more comfortable experience. Furthermore, taken as a standalone instrumental album, ‘False Haven’ stands out as another fine document of McGowan’s melodic and arrangement skills which continue to match quality with quantity.