Sadness, anger, and pain turn from toxic emotions into cathartic unveilings in FERGUS’ ‘Three of Swords’, bursting forth from the British singer-songwriter in great, poignant, and stirring rays of song.
Stream: ‘Three of Swords’ – FERGUS
I sleep through the day
Hoping I wake up in a different place
Where I can dare to show my face
I watch from afar
Keeping my distance
I pray for forgiveness
Keeping my distance
Hoping I find some courage
– “Hoping, Keeping,” FERGUS
Sadness, anger, and pain turn from toxic emotions into cathartic unveilings in FERGUS’ second record, bursting forth from the British singer-songwriter in great, poignant, and stirring rays of song. Three of Swords finds FERGUS enveloped in dark emotions as he builds upon the balladry and storytelling of his initial EP, opting for meaning, depth, and lyricism over poppy melodies.
Slumbering seaside, sun kicking
Up, up awaking
Shedding some light on
Feel I’ve been run through the hollow
In spite of devotion
Keeping me hooked on
All I want is some peace of mind
Some peace of mind
– “Zelda Mae,” FERGUS
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering FERGUS’ sophomore album Three of Swords, prdouced by Jake Gosling and out August 8, 2019 via Goldun Egg Records. The follow-up to FERGUS’ debut 2018 EP Purple Road, Three of Swords is an evocative and potent force of feeling channeling often-internalized emotions into dramatic external expressions of self. FERGUS’ characteristic high, sweet voice soars as beautifully as ever through stimulating lyrics and engaging folk and folk-rock instrumentations that mirror the lyrics’ intensity.
In reviewing Purple Road last year, Atwood Magazine wrote, “We serve to learn a thing or ten from this singer/songwriter, who has dwelled in the deepest parts of his being and translated that into poignant grace. We all have our demons, but FERGUS is among the few of us who can translate those demons into something magical, compelling, and bigger than itself.” Much of Purple Road‘s darkness was covered up by sweeter tonalities and inviting, innocent-sounding melodies that spread a seeming musical light.
Unlike his last EP, Three of Swords spares no expense at bringing FERGUS’ darker musings to life. The result is a bolder, more in-your-face record whose pain is palpable, and whose intimacy and immediacy know no bounds. “Dressing with colourful language to cover my anguish,” he sings in lead single “Zelda Mae,” a heartbroken and distraught outpouring previously featured on Atwood’s Weekly Roundup. “Keeping the lights on, left here with only the North wind that roars from the mountains, keeping me hooked on…“
FERGUS diversifies his emotions throughout Three of Swords, allowing himself to dwell in anger and channel what he would otherwise keep to himself into song alongside his bitter sorrow.
Still fighting the waves of emotion
Bored having to start a war
Every time you’re back
And you know what I mean
– “Turn Gold,” FERGUS
“The making of Three of Swords was a very cathartic process writing and recording,” FERGUS tells Atwood Magazine. “I’m very proud of the songs, the depth of the production, and the development in sound. I think it shows the growth in my confidence as a songwriter and a performer, and in myself. being more vocal and outward, rather than internalising everything.”
FERGUS’ music feels stronger than ever, and yet thanks to the presence of sweet, short interludes like “Hoping, Keeping” – whose hopeful nature sets a bright tone for the overall record – together FERGUS and producer Jake Gosling manage to find their own balance between the darkness and the light.
FERGUS appears as emotional as ever on Three of Swords, diving into himself without coming up for air. Unabridged and raw, Three of Swords is the hurt personified: It aches with a desire for retribution, but above all, it longs to be understood. Listen to this music once by yourself, and next in the company of loved ones.
Experience the full record via our exclusive stream, and peek inside FERGUS’ Three of Swords with Atwood Magazine as he goes track-by-track through the the music and lyrics of his sophomore EP!
Stream: ‘Three of Swords’ – FERGUS
:: Inside Three of Swords ::
Zelda Mae is about waking up and throwing off a dream. I knew I needed it to be the first full song on the EP so I wanted to have a intro track that felt very seductive and lush but also a bit toxic. I wrote ‘hoping, keeping’ years ago when I felt stuck behind an invisible barrier watching life pass me by. adding some decayed piano and hummed harmonies created the atmosphere I wanted, and the vocoder all the way through gives it an otherworldly quality to kick off Three of Swords. then comes
I liked the continuity of starting with strummed acoustic guitar, but with more clarity and presence pulling you out of the dream. adding all the cello and harmony layers and the massive kick gave it the epic feel it needed. Zelda Mae is about giving up on someone and, in doing so, finally breaking out from under their spell. Waking up from a trance and realising what you were putting yourself through, and everything that cost. Giving up can be the hardest thing to do and Zelda Mae is a release of months of hurt and sheer frustration; it’s triumphant in its sadness – a silver lining on an overcast day.
Chaotic and furious and pretty much relentless. This is a really bitter and mean song. Every time I sing ‘turn gold’ I wanted to write ‘go fuck yourself’. It appealed to me to sing something which sounds like a nice thing but comes from such an angry place, basically saying “be better” or even “become inert”. Jake (Gosling) ran with the metallic theme production-wise to make it sound sparkly and brassy, with punchy drums from the get-go, to keep things moving. The hand slaps are actually from my original demo, and Jake played with the bird whistles I’d done on that too, which you can hear in the drop.
This is a flashback and a welcome breather, harmonised all the way through as a nod to ‘hoping, keeping’ and also the interludes on my debut EP ‘Purple Road’, the delay on the guitar gives it that feel of replaying a memory. lyrically it’s about how the way we remember things can be so easily warped and manipulated, by ourselves more than anyone else – tricking ourselves into believing what we want to believe.
I wanted to write a song here that was really beautiful but also sad and desperately confused. I like the continuity here again with the guitar from ‘submarines’. I was really excited to use live drums for the first time – played by my friend Mike Cosburn. This song is about feeling trapped by conflicting emotions, obsessing over everything, then eventually exploding in an outburst you grow to regret, it may be cathartic, but costs your dignity. There’s a sad desperation, but also an element of cruelty in the line ‘I don’t want these memories.”
This track is about embracing righteous rage and darkness and acknowledging the mismatch morally in a relationship. The lyrics are dripping with resentment and bitter disappointment. There are a few people in my life who will be happy to hear the end of this particular story in my life.”
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📸 © Cara Kealy
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