For Fans Of
Fair To Midland, the young proteges of System Of A Down frontman Serj Tankian, write the type of music that needs exceptional production to be effective. This is due to the complex nature of their song writing, which barely sits still and the fact that when their songs peak, they need massive sounds to accompany that peak.
After a quick introduction track the first actual song Whiskey And Ritalin wastes no time bringing a chaotic thunder in the form of big guitar riffs which somehow transcend into sweeping chorus lines and an epic, piano laced ending. This is followed by the album’s first single, Musical Chairs, which features a soft piano introduction that jumps to a rock opera wall of sound, then pops back down to a soft Stone Temple Pilots sounding verse. This band is literally all over the place but to their credit, they string it all together seamlessly.
Whilst the music is mainly guitar driven, this band would be nothing without the supporting piano lines, rhythm section and electronic breaks which give songs like Uh-Oh their dynamics. The group use influences from various genres to blend into their sound, like the country folk tinge of Amarilo Of My Pillow or their version of Queen style stadium rock on Rikki Tikki Tavi.
Whatever they do, they do it on a grandiose scale and clearly knowing they would need a producer who could match this, they chose Joe Barresi. Barresi, responsible for records from bands such as Queens Of The Stone Age, Coheed & Cambria and Parkway Drive, was easily the right choice as he was able to cater the sound to the many different sides of this band, quite frankly I would be scared to listen to this record in the hands of anyone else.
The record ends on the ten minute journey that is The Greener Grass, an uplifting trip through a freaking rainbow that needs to be heard to truly be explained.
It’s hard to say if Fair To Midland’s songwriting has progressed on this record as they have always just done their thing and there is so much going on that it is hard to pinpoint their sound. The quality of their sound however has certainly improved with production worthy of the eclectic route the music takes making ‘Arrows And Anchors’ an entertaining listen from start to finish.
1. Heavens to Murgatroyd
2. Whiskey & Ritalin
3. Musical Chairs
5. Amarillo Sleeps on My Pillow
6. A Loophole in Limbo
7. Typhoid Mary Sends Her Best
8. Short-Haired Tornado
9. The Upset at Bailey Bridge
10. Rikki Tikki Tavi
11. Golden Parachutes
12. Bright Bulbs & Sharp Tools
13. Coppertank Island
14. Three Foolproof Ways to Buy the Farm
15. The Greener Grass