Interestingly, some of the most intriguing albums released this year that I have heard have come seemingly out of left field. Albums from bands such as Minus the Bear, Porcupine Tree, and Thunderstone are among my favourites so far this year, where as records I've expected to do rather well were not as great as imagined. Among these albums is the latest Fair to Midland album. Titled Fables From a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is Tue, the Texas based band's third full length offering is a strange, yet very interesting collection of music. The 47 minute record combines a variety of elements from several different musical genres, and does it well, making the music quite accessible to listeners. Fair to Midland's three prior releases (two studio albums, one EP) had apparently earned the band the distinction of being one of the better unsigned bands around, and after listening to Fables From a Mayfly it isn't difficult to see why.
While listening to Fables From a Mayfly, it isn't too difficult to pick out Fair to Midland's greatest strength. It isn't individual performances which makes the band fun to listen to. Nor is it the way they perform as a group (though they do compliment each other very well). No, the most interesting part about Fair to Midland's music is the song writing. As mentioned earlier, they make use of a variety of music styles together to mould their sound, musical styles ranging from alternative rock to progressive rock to metal, as well as Neo-Psychedelia, and folk. The result is a very artsy sounding, well, sound that is both catchy and powerful. Interestingly enough, such influences are spread throughout the album and not fused into a singular, concrete sound. Through their superb song writing, Fair to Midland manages to slide effortlessly and effectively between the genres and make it sound, well, excellent. Another important aspect of the music is the keyboards. Handled by Matt Langley, they aren't particularly flashy. You won't be hearing any lengthy solos, nor purely electronic riffs, verses, or bridges (apart from perhaps the album's tranquil closer, Say When). But what makes the keys so essential to Fair to Midland's performance is their effect on the overall sound. Throughout most, if not all of the album's songs they provide the music with a unique texture that draws on a series of emotions ranging from sombreness (Walls of Jericho, anyone) to an upbeat attitude.
Perhaps the strongest track to be found on Fables From a Mayfly is the opener, Dance of the Manatee. The album's first single, it's the track which best reflects the values of the music. The song fluctuates between heavy and calm sections quite often, but the band pulls it off extremely well, and as result the song has a great flow to it. Particularly effective, not only here, but on virtually every track (especially the likes of Kyla Cries Cologne and Walls of Jericho) is vocalist Darroh Sudderth. Ironically, his talents are quite reflective of Fair to Midland, as he is fairly versatile in his performance. His voice often wavers between calm and peaceful to that of a melodic, high pitched wail to a guttural scream. At times Darroh also makes use of a spoken drawl, as can be heard in Vice/Versa or a combination of the soothing tones I mentioned first and said spoken verses, like A Seafarer's Knot shows us. He's quite the interesting vocalist, and his performance is one of the better elements of the record.
Overall, Fair to Midland's third full length album, Fables From a Mayfly was an excellent find and a complete surprise. The band combines an assortment of different influences into their music, giving them a unique, enjoyable sound. Fables From a Mayfly may be a tad difficult to track down, as Fair to Midland isn't exactly a major-label, chart topping group, but their latest release is definitely worth looking for. It's one of 2007's strongest releases thus far, no doubt about it.
good one, we actually state the same things in our reviews. in fact we even share 3 out of 4 recommended tracks :D i really think that this band is gonna blow big during the next year..This Message Edited On 07.18.07
This album is pretty fucking sweet. I'd recommend it to anyone who's into any kind of alternative music because the album has so much variety. I'd imagine that there's something for everyone in this album.
Oh yeah, and they have a song called "Dance of the Manatee". How fucking awesome is that?
I want to find their older stuff and having problems so far... this is awesome, and because of the music and stuff this should also appeal to those that don't usually like the radio rock and alternative bands... I'm one of those people.
I want to find their older stuff and having problems so far... this is awesome, and because of the music and stuff this should also appeal to those that don't usually like the radio rock and alternative bands
Alot of the songs on Inter.Funda.Stifle can be found here. It's pretty much this album with a few of the parts changed around + a few songs - awesome production. Still worth listening to though. And I agree on your second point.