Love, Care, Kindness & Hope by Fred Everything

Fred Everything's much-anticipated new album, Love, Care, Kindness & Hope, features Stereo MCs, Robert Owens, James Alexander Bright, and Sapele.

Love, Care, Kindness & Hope by Fred Everything Photo by Fred Everything/Lazy Days Recordings

One day early in the global lockdown, Frédéric Blais scribbled four words on a Post-It note and pinned it up in his studio. When he headed to a studio in the mountains north of Montreal to start work on his fifth album as Fred Everything, those words went with him. They would not only inspire during two weeks of isolated music-making but ultimately give the subsequent album its title: Love, Care, Kindness, and Hope.

Those sentiments - a positive mantra during personal and collective vulnerability and isolation - resonate throughout the album, a gorgeously warm and beautiful affair that counts as Blais's most personal, musically expansive, mature, and sonically detailed set to date. While each of the tracks began as a rough sketch laid down during Blais' retreat, they evolved considerably over the months that followed. Blais reached out to a handful of carefully selected guest vocalists and collaborators, including Stereo MC's, Robert Owens, Sapele, James Alexander Bright, Wayne Tennant, string arranger Pete Whitfield and multi-instrumentalist Finn Peters. He also lent his voice to several tracks, a first in a career dating back to the 1990s.

The results are magical, with Blais offering subtle variations on his trademark deep house sound and nodding to complementary music styles and classic electronic albums from the late '90s and early 2000s. There are standout tracks everywhere you turn, from the sunrise-ready shuffle "Hope Is On The Horizon," where Peters' flutes rub shoulders with Blais' whispered vocals, and the house retro-futurism of "Evening Ghost" to the excellent '80s boogie/deep house fusion of "Moonrise" and the softly spun wonder of "Something For You," a tribute to his wife Cheryl, where Blais' eyes-closed vocals spar with Peters' awe-inspiring horn section.

Naturally, much focus will fall on the album's high-profile guests, whose contributions work perfectly with Blais' cultured dancefloor electronica and soul-soaked broken house grooves. Robert Owens - the voice of house himself - expertly delivers lyrics full of compassion and reassurance on recent single "Never," Sapele infuses "A Long Time Coming" with lashings of soulful spirituality, and UK hip-hop/soul legends Stereo MC's make their presence felt on the subtly Latin-infused dub house excellence of "Soul Love."

Then there's "Breathe," where UK singer-songwriter James Alexander Bright and backing vocalist Wayne Tennant rise above punchy broken house beats, Blais' trademark square-wave bass, and Pete Whitfield's swelling strings on "Breathe." When the kaleidoscopic, sun-down breakbeat brilliance of "A Good Day" arrives to draw proceedings to a close, you'll be overflowing with Blais' "love, care, kindness, and hope" - just as he intended.

Fred Everything - Love, Care, Kindness & Hope
Release Date 24th May 2024
Label Lazy Days Recordings

Tracklist
1. Hope Is On The Horizon    
2. A Long Time Coming (feat. Sapele)    
3. Evening Ghost    
4. Never (feat. Robert Owens)    
5. Something For You    
6. Moonrise    
7. Soul Love (feat. Stereo MCs)    
8. Breathe (feat. James Alexander Bright)    
9. Asolee    
10. A Good Day

Mathias Haegglund Code Collector, Globetrotter, and Occasional Gamer.