Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Farewood: Wings of Gold

In the youtube generation, so many “artists” put little thought into their output. It's comforting that there are bands like Farewood, who not only lay down beautiful musical tracks, but do so in order to bring readers to a richly developed fictional world of struggles and progress through human, or human-like interactions. In these songs of love and pain, a listener meets speakers they can identify with on a human level, as well as a witch, a ghost, and an angel. 

Whipped up in this cauldron, listeners may sense flavors of so many alternative and indie rock staples from the decades. Fans of Bjork and Delores O'Riordan may enjoy similar qualities to the female vocals of Farewood's Leah Booker, while one can hear Farewood's Lou Lorenzo and detect throaty hints of Lou Reed with the gentleness of The Gift Machine and soft waves of New Haven's Jayson Munro. Surrounding the voices that tell the story is a well-produced atmosphere that varies from many distinct layers of rich pop rock, to simple folk rock sounds.
After a haunting introduction with an echoing child's prayer in track 1, Wings of Gold moves onward into track 2, “A Ghost Staring” with Booker's striking vocals complimenting a driving background that approaches the sound of poprock hits such as Muse's “Starlight”. Next, is the title track, with Booker continuing to take the vocal lead with caressing vocal harmonies and dueling vocals. The story seems to take a serious and urgent tone as the music turns to crunching bold guitars and lyrics chant, “Closing in, closing in, oh man it's really happening.”

On track 4, Booker's vocals fill in the space around Lorenzo's vocals, that here take on almost a groan like J. Mascis of Dinosaur, Jr. with more of that rich, layers background of sound. Track 5, “Sable Sky” begins with upbeat drums before a vocally rich wall of harmonies begins, leading into some rocking guitar and continuing that sense of urgency.

Track 6, “Vacancy” brings it back down to a calmer tone with as a slow, folksy ballad. Electric guitar licks echo over the swaying chords and kicking drums. Following that, electric guitar leads introduce a song that brings back that sense of urgency kind of like the intro to Built to Spill's “Traces” before Lorenzo continues to tell the story.

Next, a quiet and trippy intro to “Fruit Trees” features more of Booker's vocals and has a lighter mood with themes of love and optimism. The remaining tracks continue in this vein of great atmosphere and that range of pop-rock to folksy alternative.
The sound as well as the story make this release clearly a result of lots of effort. Listeners willing to put the effort into listening and reading along will find the kind of payoff and satisfaction you won't get from just any old act these days.

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