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Fair To Midland - Fables From A Mayfly - What I Tell You Three Times Is True CD (album) cover


Fair To Midland


Crossover Prog

4.09 | 93 ratings

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4 stars This is a very impressive band that play top-notch progressive rock that has quite a variety of influence and sub-genres many time evident in each individual track. Taking a look at this album cover, you think you are in for a nice brand of folk rock or prog-folk. Well.....that's just the very tippity tip of the iceberg here, ladies and gentlemen. If you catch on to the hidden track that's there before the first official track, and hit the back button on your CD player as soon as you put in the disc, you might fall into the mistaken idea that this is a mid-eastern style of folk, but when that first track kicks in, you see how much you were mistaken. Not that that is a fluke, because prog-folk is evident in many places through the album, but it can flow effortlessly into prog-metal as quick as a blink of an eye. And you are left in the world did that just happen?

This band started out by releasing two albums on their own and by pleasing the locals of their home state of Texas. They did so well there, that they decided to try their luck in other parts of the country, but did not fare so well (I'm guessing because their music is quite complex). It got to the point that the band was going to break up and call the whole thing a failure, but right at the last minute, they caught the attention of Serj Tankian (the lead singer from "System of a Down"). He signed them onto his label and was available for advise and became the executive producer for this album. Soon they were opening for bands like Muse, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against the Machine and so on.

So, if I was to compare the music to other progressive bands out there, I would have to say this music is as versatile and inventive as dredg at their best. There are not a lot of instrumental breaks or solos here, except on the instrumental interludes. But the band works together flawlessly and flow from so many styles and meters without a hitch. The biggest draw for this band and their biggest thing they have going for them is their versatility and the vocals of Darroh Sudderth. His range matches the versatility of their style point for point. He has a slight warble in his voice when singing softer or more folk style songs that makes him believable in those passages, but he can switch to an amazing falsetto that's just as strong as anything, and still pull off a low guttural heavy rap as good as Serj can and sound just as authentic.

Then there is the feeling of the music. There is so much variety within each song, but each song has it's own feeling and personality. As you listen and become familiar with the tracks, you notice each one does have an overall direction. "Say When" is a beautiful ballad overall with nice harmonies but still has room to put in an amazing guitar hook and solo. The interlude that follows at the end of "April Fools and Eggmen" is a nice sounding instrumental that sounds like something from a rhythmic renaissance style song, then this gives way to the sudden explosive riff that heads off the amazing "The Seafarer's Knot" one of my personal favorites on this album.

This is really good progressive rock to play while on the road. The overall tone is quite heavy, but it changes so much that I think it would be attractive to a wide audience. Really great music, high quality performance especially form the vocalist, but it is obvious that the entire band is talented. This is a band that needs more recognition for sure. This album is definitely an excellent addition to any prog rock collection. 4 strong stars.

TCat | 4/5 |


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