Falling Up
Falling Up



by Clifgard USER (10 Reviews)
November 18th, 2015 | 32 replies

Release Date: 11/13/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Trading ostentation for pure elegance.

Accompanying audiobooks. Converted sci-fi screenplays. Massive double concept-albums. If ever there was a poster child for pretense, Falling Up would be Little Mikey, on the front of your cereal box, displayed next a bowl sloshing with a vulgar accumulation of random literary devices. Despite this, what Falling Up most certainly can't be accused of is selling out; the now-synth/progressive/indie/experimental band has trudged along with quite modest success for the past six years, despite starting out as a talented and capable CCM alternative hard rock outfit. Most original fans stopped caring after 2009's Fangs! spun in their CD players a couple of times - they might be less surprised to learn that Falling Up is finally calling it quits in late 2015 as they would be to learn that Falling Up is still around at all.

But after years of spacemen shooting silver arrows at the moon, children playing dangerous games in demon-possessed gymnasiums, and gentle crooning on earth-ward space-faring vessels, Falling Up has had plenty of time to catch up to their own pretension. The result" One final, crowd-funded effort stripping back the hallucinogenic imagery and supposed self-importance and crafting a genuinely masterful concept album. Here, the lyrics are actually intelligent, instead of merely intelligence misappropriated. By coming down from the clouds and landing on a more solid story about a young girl and her family undergoing fantastical yet relatable hardships in an old, decrepit house, Falling Up has finally set the backdrop for the musical experience they have always been capable of delivering.

Yes, I said the conceptual lyricism presented here is a backdrop. If the lack of a title did not already make it obvious, this album is less about listening to Jessy Ribordy, boyish, energetic, and eclectic frontman and wanna-be sci-fi indie director and author, and more about listening to Falling Up, the talented alternative rock band. Musically, Falling Up has much in common with 2013's Hours, meaning that the listener is in for plenty of stirring vocal melodies, unusual song structures, and dynamic shifts. Unlike that album, however, the sounds are far more organic, with layers upon layers of delicate electric guitar, acoustic guitar finger-picking, gentle piano, and highly technical drumming. Songs tend to run on the long side, with several reaching six minutes or longer - but with constantly-changing structures, Falling Up manages to keep the entire length of each song (and, consequently, the whole album) interesting. By contrast, the couple of sub-four-minute tracks feel positively short. Surpassing the 60-minute mark, Falling Up narrowly avoids dragging on, but manages to hit that magical sweet spot that neither leaves the listener wanting more nor reaching for the "skip" key.

Whether it's the constant dynamism of "Flora," the gentle melodies of "Typhoon," or the cryptic musings of "The Insect," or the aggressive urgency of "Rangers," or the circular dissonance of closer "Flares," Falling Up constantly pushes, pulls, moves, shifts, ebbs, flows, breaks, connects, and transitions in a way that leaves the whole feeling consistent without seeming same-y. Still, this is not the kind of accessible album that allows a few single tracks to be pulled easily into a playlist. It's also, like Hours before it, not the kind of album that sits on repeat in the car for the daily commute every morning. It's the kind of album that coerces you to sit and listen; to put the phone down and turn off the television and log off the computer and just enjoy. It's one of those rare gems that's immediately euphonic without catering to lowest-common-denominator tastes. It's a marriage of the group's more youthful sensibilities from Crashings- and Dawn Escapes-era Falling Up to their more experimental architecture from Your Sparkling Death Cometh and Hours.

If you're going to go out, this is how you go out. There's a sense of scale, of maturity, of depth, of musicality, of progression, of growth, of ambition, of accomplishment, and of pure, unadulterated elegance here that far supersedes the "look what we can do" ostentation of all previous efforts. This may be the end of a much longer musical journey for Falling Up, but it's the self-titled destination you're bound to remember.

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user ratings (76)

Comments:Add a Comment 
November 18th 2015


Album Rating: 5.0

I had to five this.

I dig this album so hard.

Don't judge.

November 18th 2015


Man great review and great album. I really enjoyed their recent output (I can't tell if you did or not), and this is a wonderful closing record. I'll miss these guys for sure.

Digging: Mimicking Birds - Layers of Us

November 18th 2015


Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks! I love Hours, even though it was lyrically a lot farther in left field and structurally a little shaky (a lot of songs were very repetitious). I do think Hours has some of the best songs they've ever done, especially "Aeva and the Waving World" and "On Growing Things," but as a whole, this is by far their best.

"Your Sparkling Death Cometh" never connected with me, for some reason.

Contributing Reviewer
November 18th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

whoa this band still lives? I may have to hear this.

November 18th 2015


Album Rating: 3.0

this better have prog in it

Digging: Shakti - Natural Elements

November 18th 2015


that good huh?

Digging: Onra - Nobody Has To Know

November 18th 2015


Great review, definitely need to check this

November 18th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

I do have my favourites on this, yet it feels way too cheesy most of the time.

November 18th 2015


Nice review. I think the intro sentence to paragraph four is quite long - possibly lose one or two of the songs - and I have a bit of an aversion to the "Whether it's...or...then _____" sentence structure. Aside from that, nice work.

Digging: Mournful Congregation - The June Frost

November 18th 2015


I really like Your Sparkling Death Cometh but never gave anything else they put out a spin. Might have to check this out now. Great review!

November 18th 2015


Good review. The similar artists hint that this band is for the most part not something for my taste, but this review and the current ratings urged me to bookmark this.

November 18th 2015


I haven't listened since Dawn Escapes. Time to fix that, apparently.

Digging: Typhoon (USA-OR) - Offerings

November 18th 2015


I don't think I'll ever like any of their albums as much as I love Fangs!, but this was pretty damn good

November 18th 2015


haven't listened to this band since dawn escapes came out but this looks promising

November 18th 2015


I haven't thought about these guys in a long time, but I'm glad to see they still kick ass. Sounds like an awesome album. Pos'd

November 18th 2015


I really like what I've heard on youtube. Hope this comes to Spotify soon.

November 18th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

Lol I remember listening to this band when I was 10

November 18th 2015


this is a fantastic review and i hope the album is as good as you make it out to be. sounds like it might be right up my alley. thanks

November 18th 2015


might check this out... i don't want to go into it under the pretense that i will probably hate it, but i will probably hate it.

November 18th 2015


Album Rating: 3.0

It's okay. I appreciate the use of the celesta, the piano and SOME strings (sadly, minimal amounts) that do make some parts very pretty. I think "Rangers" came closest to what I was hoping for.

That said, I don't like his voice. It's really thin and irritating and kinda like a lot of these alternative/post-hardcore bands. Overall, there's still too much emphasis on the vocals and lyrics, which are pretty mediocre imo. The harmonic textures are average too. I think I heard an interesting chord in "The Green Rider" and some good counterpoint in "Rangers" but nothing to write home about. I know that sounds picky, but I look for that when I listen to something that's going for subtle beauty.

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