Sheffield has birthed many a great artist. Pulp and Arctic Monkeys are the cream of the crop. The Human League, to a lesser extent. Ed Cosens is lingering nearby after his debut solo release, Fortune’s Favour. The Reverend and the Makers guitarist takes the plunge so many dare not do and pushes forth with ten tracks of strong-sounding material. It is always a treat to discover new artists, and in Cosens, we have found someone with an established understanding of what makes independent music tick, and ticks off all the rudimentary essentials, using this as a foundation for some nicely crafted songs.
Opening well enough with Running on Empty, Cosens implements the core tools of the trade, offering a resolute mixing of strong vocal talents and a lovely selection of instruments. Madeleine in particular offers some breathing room to the guitar. It is screeching and screaming to be let out for the full scope of a listener, but credit to Cosens, who is reserved and continues on with his effective lyrical style. His voice is engaging and distant. “I’m never coming down” he warbles. It’s hard to see him coming down after the high that is Fortune’s Favour, which has all the bells and whistles necessary to showcasing a varied and stylised debut.
If feels chirpy with its twinkling spots but its lyrics spin a different story. It is pained and tortured, all the drawbacks of heartbreak embodied with an orchestral innocence. The River follows suit, a protagonist waiting for the eventual fall of the person they’re infatuated with. Acoustic guitar seems to be the best pairing for lyrics of this nature. A slow tempo, guiding the pained lyrics Cosens offers. The titular track is the best example of this. With its comfortable electric guitar providing sturdy repetition, it allows Cosens to chip away at what this album represents. There is a hopeful aura to it all, On The Run’s brief piano interlude and the “…I’m so glad that it’s you…” line contrast with the earlier tracks, with their guitar riffs and faster pacing.
To sing of established themes that are put through the wringer more often than most is a risk, but Cosens finds comfort and credibility in the tales of heartbreak and regret. It is a theme toyed with often by the singers of Sheffield. Cosens finds his own niche though, ditching the perverse Cocker lyrics and the “Lads lads lads” style of Monkeys to offer a nice array of credible acoustics and tremendous lyrical play. It is a dependable debut, Fortune’s Favour favours quality across its ten tracks. There is definitely an Arctic Monkeys layer of influence in the echoes and slow-paced beauty on the strongest tracks, but what’s not to like about that? It’s a good, slower alternative for those that desire a bit more range. Sombre, melodic, and crucially, damn good stuff. Fortune’s Favour is a fantastic debut, a comfortable opening and an exceptional ending, with bits of brilliance all the way through.