Lee Fletcher: octogenarian, stunt man, cyborg and father of twelve. He is none of these things. What he is though is the creator of a fabulous and surprising album, ‘Faith in Worthless Things’.
I’ve known Lee, in the electronic sense (emails, social media, musical projects, etc.), for many years and always associated him with music more in the nature of Markus Reuter’s work. Although Lee has produced a variety of artists he has somehow brought an individual vision to his own album. That might sound like an obvious thing to do but try this. Turn on the radio, listen to some pop music and tell me if you believe the artist is being true to themselves or trying to fit into a niche in an increasingly meaningless marketplace.
Lee has achieved a dream. To make an album of songs which engage the brain and the heart. He has made his own template and he has bothered to sweat the little details as much as the big ones. Most importantly, when the time came to find the right singer, he asked his wife.
Listening to ‘Faith in Worthless Things’ reminds you how pointless genre labels can be. When the violins and viola’s play at the very top of the album I was thrown and all my expectations had to be reset. Folk moves to neo-classical moves to prog/pop moves to… well, just keeps moving. The textures of the instrumentation also help keep you, the happy listener, on your toes. Trumpet, pedal steel and especially the aforementioned touch guitar of Markus Reuter all work to open up the soundscapes of this album. Lisa Fletcher’s voice is the most effective instrument of all though. It does that wonderful thing of making a lyric feel meaningful. This is the gift that separates the great singers from the ordinary.
Another thing Lee has managed to avoid is the trap of making the songs too samey, or (just as bad) leaping around from style to style so the album has no coherence. This is one of those rare collections which is bound by a vision (can you have a vision in audio?) but which doesn’t sound like ten version of the same song.
Lee is a good and talented man in a world of fame seeking ninnies and he’s done plenty of great work. But ‘Faith in Worthless Things’ is his finest achievement so far.