Fair to Midland
Inter.Funda.Stifle


4.5
superb

Review

by Mikesn EMERITUS
May 17th, 2008 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Bridging the gap between Carbon Copy and Fables From a Mayfly.

With Fables From a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times is True, Fair to Midland came out of 2007 with only one of the year's biggest surprises. Hell, if not for Raine Maida's releasing of The Hunters Lullaby, the Texan quintet might have had the year's strongest album. Long time fans of the band wouldn't likely have been surprised, however. Both The Carbon Copy of Silver Lining and 2004's Inter.funda.stifle, though slightly different from Fair to Midland's major label debut, were excellent records in their own right.

If anything, Inter.funda.stifle can be described as the bridge between the straight forward alternative metal of The Carbon Copy of Silver Lining and Fables From a Mayfly's eccentric art rock sound. Need convincing? Six of the latter's songs originated here. However, though the versions featured on Inter.funda.stifle are basically the same songs, they each have distinct differences. Most notably, these songs are much heavier numbers, and though they maintain an ethereal feel (largely due to Matt Langley's keyboards), Fair to Midland seem more interested in aggressive material - "The Walls of Jericho" even closes off with a guitar driven breakdown. A major reason change in mood is the difference in production. In contrast to the crystal clear Fables From a Mayfly, Inter.funda.stifle is a much muddier affair. Because vocalist Darroh Sudderth's croons, shouts, and wails seem buried in the mix, songs such as "Dance of the Manatee" and "Upgrade^Brigade" make for more urgent listens.

As for the songs exclusive to Inter.funda.stifle, as one would expect, they manage to maintain the quality that Fair to Midland has become known for. Leading the way are "Orphan Anthem '86" and "Granny Niblo". The former is a mellow cut, and easily one of the most beautiful songs the band has ever done. Powered by Sudderth's powerful delivery, swirling keyboards, walls of heavy (but not aggressive) distortion and a chorus that is as inspiring as it is infectious, "Orphan Anthem '86" just might be Inter.funda.stifle's strongest track. Likewise, "Granny Niblo" is also a beautiful song, and though it isn't quite as awe-inspiring as the former, it manages to uphold the epic atmosphere created by "Orphan Anthem '86". "Quince" is one of the band's spacier tracks, and while perhaps not as immediately accessible as the record's other songs, is a more laidback number that closes the album brilliantly.

Inter.funda.stifle isn't the easiest album to get into, and may take a few listens to properly appreciate, especially to someone who first discovered Fair to Midland through Fables From a Mayfly. Much of this can be attributed to the weak production, but eventually even this becomes a non-issue. While it is the clearer, more mature sound that elevates Fables From a Mayfly over Inter.funda.stifle, Fair to Midland's sophomore effort remains a superb effort that helps set the stage for later releases.



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user ratings (182)
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
thatdudeud0ntknow (4)
Inter.funda.stifle is an overlooked masterpiece-living undeservedly in the shadows of the following ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
elephantREVOLUTION
May 18th 2008


2995 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i will have to check this out. i love fables from a mayfly and im sure i will love this. nice review.

Mikesn
Emeritus
May 18th 2008


3708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It might take a little getting used to, but yeah, if you liked Fables you'll love this.

SavageCore
June 28th 2008


84 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I need this.

Edit: Found it, in love with it.This Message Edited On 06.29.08

Willie
Moderator
June 28th 2008


18430 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, I guess you never got all your comments back for the original?

fireaboveicebelow
August 2nd 2008


6832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

great review as usual, I guess I need to get the first two cds now

Mikesn
Emeritus
June 8th 2009


3708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Orphan Anthem '86, Granny Niblo, and Quince are probably my favourites too. I prefer Fables as a whole though.





Maybe add Musical Chairs to that too. I can't wait for a studio recording

rasputin
June 8th 2009


14968 Comments


ruuuulllees

Willie
Moderator
August 27th 2009


18430 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ha ha, very nice. Hopefully they quit answering random shipping questions and get back to the new album.

helpmypantsareonfire
July 7th 2011


56 Comments


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbqwSrcfARQ


Awesome live acoustic version of Orphan Anthem '86

Cipieron
September 15th 2011


3508 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Orphan Anthem, Abigail, and Quince are amazing

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
October 6th 2011


22490 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Following on from their messy & inconsistent debut album, Texan alt-metal quintet Fair To Midland take a step up on 2nd LP 'Inter.funda.stifle'. The lyrics may still be too odd but the songwriting is more mature & cohesive here, while both the vocals & musicianship display a greater sense of melody with the pronounced use of keys especially effective. Some production issues still exist, since the raw feel blunts some of the more accessible hooks. However, for such an unpredictable & progressive band to have such hooks in the 1st place is a pleasant surprise. Recommended Tracks: Dance of the Manatee, Vice/Versa, Orphan Anthem '86 & Upgrade^Brigade.

Cipieron
April 24th 2012


3508 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i still wish Orphan Anthem had made it on Fables and gotten polished up, but hey.. they still play it at shows and that's amazing

PistolPete
November 28th 2012


5082 Comments


There's just something about already hearing six newer versions of tracks here as well as four of these tracks being short instrumentals that discourages me from checking this out.

I'm sure the ones here are 'different' enough from the versions on Fables but still. Why would FtM do that? I confess myself confused.

Cipieron
November 28th 2012


3508 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This has a more raw, less produced sound than Fables. Definitely worth checking out if you like that album. Orphan Anthem, Timbuktu, and Quince alone make this album worth it



Can't say I know exactly why they chose to do that between the two albums, but I think it's awesome having the two different versions of songs. Great to see how they grew and polished their sound.



So quit being a baby and listen to it

JokineAugustus
June 13th 2013


9189 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Vice/Versa is probably the best song ever.

Digging: Mithras - Behind the Shadows Lie Madness

Emyay
November 11th 2013


6282 Comments


i love fables and arrows might have to check this out

Cipieron
November 11th 2013


3508 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

do it emyay





at least check out the songs they didn't redo for Fables



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5lD5kDAvbM&list=PLC453B14CD1BEE7A3



look i even did all the work for you ;)

gschwen
August 28th 2019


236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What I find frustrating about this album, is that it's my favorite FtM album and very possibly my favorite album.



Of course, Spotify doesn't have it on their platform. If you try to import the album from your computer, Spotify will sync the Fables versions of the IFS songs to the playlist, like "Oh we already have those here, no need for your copies!". I vastly prefer the IFS versions to Fables, even though I gather that's an unpopular opinion here based on album ratings. It truly sucks that, like any band or album left off a streaming platform, I don't get to hear this album as much as I did when I was using a 6-CD changer in my car on the regular.



I was introduced to the band with this album. Fables put me completely off because it seemed like using new versions of old songs that didn't need updating in the first place to make an album was, IMO, a stupid idea. My opinion hasn't changed.



Of course, all that's just fine if your introduction to the band was Fables in the first place, and can appreciate why less polished versions of songs you're familiar with aren't as nice.



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