Fair to Midland
The Carbon Copy Silver Lining


3.5
great

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
May 18th, 2008 | 42 replies | 13,495 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Trade out some the epic feel of their latest album, and swap in some aggression and you have the debut album from Fair to Midland.

If it’s possible to love a band’s music after only hearing one album, then that is where I was at with Fair to Midland after listening to Fables from a Mayfly. I had been listening to it so often that I started to worry that I may start to get sick of them and with that in mind I decided to investigate their previous albums. I figured that the best place to start would be with their debut album, and what a place it was. This album is definitely FTM as it contains all the eccentricities, the unique vocals, the distinctive style of the guitarist, and almost everything else that one would expect from this band, but there’s more.

The best way to describe this album is controlled chaos mixed with occasional moments of clarity. If you were to take the unconventional nature of their last album and inject a healthy dose of aggression then you’d be in the ballpark of this album's sound. The riffs are heavy and aggressive alternating between chunky power chords, atonal sounds, and random melodic interludes. The drummer is often going nuts with a flurry of rhythms, but can stop on a dime and lay down a solid groove just as easily (as he often does on this album). The vocals are almost entirely multi-layered with screams backing up two or more other layers of vocal melodies. When you combine all of those elements with the band’s tendency for jarring musical changes you’ve got yourself a very challenging album.

Due to the complex nature of their music, it cannot be expected that everything would be right the first time out and it’s not. My main complaint comes from the vocals which definitely haven’t been developed to the point of any of their future releases. The screams and growls are still as good as they are now, but the singing is often times a bit flat during the verses and out of key during choruses. Also, he hasn’t learned to construct a melody to the extent that he does these days which results in quite a few of these songs not having the epic and memorable traits that I expected. The other small issue is that earlier I described the music on this album as “controlled chaos” but there are many instances when the control is simply thrown right out the window. Quite a few songs feature sections where the guitarist belts out chaotic riffs while the percussion consists entirely of rolls and fills, and above it all are about five layers of vocals including high pitched screams, low growls, and three other layers of singing and it simply degrades into sensory overload.

Overall, I am very happy with this album and I am glad that I had the chance to see where this band started. At the end of the day this is a great album due to the intensity, the chaotic feel of many sections and the eccentricity of the music and vocals. If you’ve never heard this band than their latest is the place to start but if you already have that album than I’d recommend that you start here, because you shouldn’t be disappointed.



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user ratings (103)
Chart.
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
April 7th 2008



15909 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I got this one and their next one at the same time, but I figured I'd do this one first since none of these songs are on the later albums.

IAmInsect
April 7th 2008



3800 Comments


Good review. I want this.

rasputin
April 7th 2008



14538 Comments


Great review.

Willie
Moderator
April 7th 2008



15909 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review
Thanks... have you heard these guys before? They may not be in the genre of music you're normally into, but they have definite appeal anyway. In fact, I noticed you have a System of a Down album listed as a 5 and Finch's "Say Hello..." album rated pretty high so you'd probably really like their newest album.

Did you ever get that other Solitude Aeturnus album?This Message Edited On 04.07.08

IAmInsect
April 7th 2008



3800 Comments


They don't really sound like System, but they share some of the same ideas. Their sound is more along the lines of a more metalish Muse.

Willie
Moderator
April 7th 2008



15909 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

They don't really sound like System, but they share some of the same ideas. Their sound is more along the lines of a more metalish Muse.
Yeah, I wasn't trying to imply they're like SOAD, only that if he likes them then he could probably branch out into these guys too.

Crimson
April 7th 2008



1935 Comments


Very good review, and definitely something I want to look into, Fables From A Mayfly was grand.

botb
April 7th 2008



9648 Comments


This is a lot like Fables from what I've heard, just with a lot worse production. Good review though, definitely has peaked my curiousity

Willie
Moderator
April 7th 2008



15909 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is a lot like Fables from what I've heard, just with a lot worse production. Good review though, definitely has peaked my curiousity
I'm pretty sure you're thinking of the album after this called "Inter.Funda.Stifle", which contains a lot of songs that are also on Fables, and does have a slightly muddy production and an, obviously, similar direction.

This album also has a slightly muddy production but doesn't really have any specific element found on Fables. The music is still eccentric and unique, but in a more aggressive way... and the vocalist is easily recognizable but his delivery is different.This Message Edited On 04.07.08

Mikesn
Emeritus
April 7th 2008



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

Nice review. I need to get this.

Otisbum
April 7th 2008



1912 Comments


What Mike said. Both FTM's other albums are excellent (especially Orphan Anthem '86, the re-make really should've been included on my copy of Fables From A Mayfly).

@Willie: The difference in aggression probably would've felt more subtle if you'd listened to Inter.Funda.Stifle first, since by the sound of your review, IFS would be about a halfway point between this and their latest album.

Willie
Moderator
April 7th 2008



15909 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The difference in aggression probably would've felt more subtle if you'd listened to Inter.Funda.Stifle first, since by the sound of your review, IFS would be about a halfway point between this and their latest album.
That is correct, because I've listened to IFS since hearing this album, and the differences would have felt less drastic if I had worked backwards instead of starting at the beginning.

Otisbum
April 7th 2008



1912 Comments


What do you think of IFS?

Willie
Moderator
April 7th 2008



15909 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What do you think of IFS?
I think it's cool because I get to hear songs
as they were (basically) originally intended to be... the songs on that album have a lot
of added elements, but are also missing things compared to the new album... I'd have
liked to see elements of both these albums combined together... but the production
and vocals win on the new album, hands down.

Edit: I'll probably review it sooner or later if no one else gets to it first.This Message Edited On 04.07.08

Mikesn
Emeritus
April 7th 2008



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

I might do it. I dunno. I agree though, the clearness from the production on the new album makes it so much more interesting.This Message Edited On 04.07.08

Willie
Moderator
April 7th 2008



15909 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I might do it. I dunno. I agree though, the clearness from the production on the new album makes it so much more interesting.
Yeah, but on the other hand the extra keyboards and electronics, and additional guitar harmonies on some of the songs sound better then the more stripped down versions on the new album... you should review it.

Otisbum
April 7th 2008



1912 Comments


Agreed also.

I'm fine with both being so different. If I'm in the mood to listen to the raw version of a song, I'll pop in IFS; if I want to hear a higher quality, sharpened version, I'll pop in Fables.

rasputin
April 8th 2008



14538 Comments


Thanks... have you heard these guys before? They may not be in the genre of music you're normally into, but they have definite appeal anyway. In fact, I noticed you have a System of a Down album listed as a 5 and Finch's "Say Hello..." album rated pretty high so you'd probably really like their newest album.

Did you ever get that other Solitude Aeturnus album?

I haven't listened to them actually, I assumed they were some sort of post hardcore band though. I've been branching out a bit from metal lately, but you only gave it a 3.5 so I wasn't too keen. Still think I should give it a shot?
And the Solitude Aeturnus album has 1 seeder so it's going at like 2 kb/s :P

Willie
Moderator
April 8th 2008



15909 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I haven't listened to them actually, I assumed they were some sort of post hardcore band though. I've been branching out a bit from metal lately, but you only gave it a 3.5 so I wasn't too keen. Still think I should give it a shot?
This wouldn't be the album for you to track down, cause it's pretty hard to find... I was suggesting you check out their newest one called "Fables From a Mayfly" which I rated a 4.5 (and so have many others)... check out the review and all the positive comments for it if you get a chance...This Message Edited On 04.08.08

rasputin
April 8th 2008



14538 Comments


Excellent, I'll definitely check it out.



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