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Fables From a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times is True

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Average Rating
★★★★★
(51 Reviews)

Fair to Midland Biography - Fair to Midland Discography - All Heavy Metal Bands

Features

  • Tracks:
  • When
  • Ghost of Perdition
  • Under the Weeping Moon
  • Bleak

Description

Depending on who’s counting, there are anywhere from 100 to n-frigging-thousand subgenres of rock music a band can slide into for easy categorization. And depending on where you drop the laser on Fair to Midland’s debut album, Fables From a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times is True, at least half of those subgenres are being reinvented at once. But to call this Dallas quintet merely eclectic is to sell them way short. No, Fair to Midland are masters of fusing those subgenres into something that’s cohesive, intensely focused, and in a bold new category all its own. Recorded with art-rock super-producer David Bottrill (Tool, Muse, Peter Gabriel), Fables From a Mayfly finds Fair to Midland stretching out even further into the aggression and atmospherics at their core while taking their inherent gift for melody to new levels. Tracks such as ”Kyla Cries Cologne,” ”April Fools and Eggmen,” and the gripping first single, ”Dance of the Manatee”, showcase Fair to Midland’s flair for combining progged-out virtuosity with lead-heavy riffs, dynamic tidal waves, and frontman Darroh Sudderth’s operatic vocals. Even when the volume lets up–as in the softer, spacier folds of ”The Wife, The Kids, and the White Picket Fence” and ”Say When”–Fair to Midland create sonic tidal waves big enough to level arenas. With Fables From a Mayfly, Fair to Midland have truly delivered, capturing the kinetic energy of their live show while harnessing the array of influences that make them impossible to pigeonhole. ”For the most part, our musical tastes are completely different,” says Sudderth, who rounds out the band with guitarist Cliff Campbell, drummer Brett Stowers, bassist Jon Dicken, and keyboardist/electronics manipulator Matt Langley. ”We’ve just gotten better at listening to each other over the years. All of our songs are just us trying to find a happy medium between what everyone in the band listens to–and I think that actually being able to do that is what makes us so different from a lot of other `rock’ bands today.”

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Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • As soon as I got an e-mail from Serj Tankian last fall saying that he had a new band for System of a Down fans to check out, I immediately checked out the link, not knowing what to expect. Low and behold, I listened to Kyla Cries Cologne for the first time and immediately fell in love with the music this group produces. Being a learning piano player, but knowing much about what sounds good and what harmonizes well, Matt Langley has got to be one of the best piano players I’ve heard in a while. You don’t get many bands that have piano in their songs anymore, but this band somehow fits the drums, guitars, keys, and chilling vocals altogether to create the perfect synergy of sound.

    I, myself, am a very harsh critic of music, but with all honesty, I have to say that Fair to Midland can’t be compared to any other band. Their sound is amazingly unique and they bring back a tone of pirates meets the renassaince meets fair/circus life…you have to hear the album in full to understand what I’m talking about. All the songs are amazing, but “A Wolf Descends on a Spanish Sahara” is probably my favorite at the moment. Like I’ve read in the forums, any band that can use the lyrics ‘It smells like disaster’ and make it sound good, HAS to be amazing. Listen all the way through the album for secret little interludes which are fun and exciting to listen to. GREAT CD, Purchase it now!

    Posted on December 27, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I heard these guys on the radio not long before the album came out and I immediately loved it. I listen to a variety of rock, classic rock, metal, prog etc. and found it to be refreshing. It’s one of those cds where you can listen to it all the whole way through. I highly recommend it.

    Posted on December 27, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Here’s the quickie: Fair to Midland’s “Fables From a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times is True” is a wonderful display of eclectic songs styles, haunting vocals and clever lyrics. You’ll find it has a hard time leaving your CD player.

    Now for the more in depth review. This release is the band’s first major label debut. What does that mean for the sound? Well, you won’t need to guess, when you can compare, since six of the tracks are re-released from their previous independent “Inter.Funda.Stifle.” With a bigger budget, the band comes across as more polished and definitive.

    They handle the heavy tracks like “Dance of the Manatee” with a practiced flurry, and lead us into slower-paced yet just as hauntingly powerful tunes, like “Say When”, with an ease that is due in no small way to the vocalist, Darroh Sudderth, who shows with every syllable sung just how amazing of a range he has. The song that showcases his voice like no other would be “The Wolf Descends upon the Spanish Sahara,” with his melodic wail sounding the best that it ever has.

    Finally, too, is there a member of the band whose duties are labeled as “keys”, and who is actually one the most integral parts of the band itself! Matt Langley’s skilled sounds help give this band what so many others are missing. Cliff Cambell’s guitar is nice and varied, and balanced well with Jon Dicken’s bass lines that never get boring. Brett Stower’s definitely shows off what drums can do for the music, as heard in “Tall Tales Taste Like Sour Grapes.” Also, the band has done well to add little bits of extra layers in between the songs that makes multiple play-throughs interesting!

    The improved quality and the updated songs show us not only how far Fair to Midland has come, but their potential for future growth. The new songs on this album are as good as any they’ve done thus far. One would be hard pressed to find a definitive genre for this band; finally, an upcoming band with a sound all its own. “Fable’s From a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times is True” is the best album of the year so far, and well worth the purchase.

    Posted on December 27, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • We recently caught Fair to Midland at the Chevelle concert , and what an amazing surprise. We were completely not expecting an opening band to be as good or better than the main event. From the moment Darroh began singing, I could feel the tingle in my spine from truly great music.

    The very next day we purchased this CD “Fables from a Mayfly…” and have been listening to nothing else for 4 days. Tracks 1, 2, 5, 6, 9 and 10 are amazing and much more metal influenced. “Tall Tales Taste Like Sour Grapes” track 9 is, in my opinion, probably the best track, followed closely by “Dance of the Manatees” which I love because of the changes Darroh makes with his voice. This man has amazing range and was even better live.

    Experts talk about FTM as prog rock (neo-prog-hardcore, more accurately) with influences like U2, Deftones and most obviously System of a Down. This band revitalizes the repetitively melodious prog-rock sound by adding in the occasional thumping and visceral nu-metal riffs along with some guttural rapping (like at the end of Dance w/Manatees). This band is probably one of the most talented I have heard or seen in a long while. Apparently they hail from experimental rock roots and have been compared to Mars Volta, but I personally like the more mainstream sound with a lot of cross-over.

    I do have to comment that this CD is nothing compared with seeing this band live. Live they were raw and much more metal. The guitars were turned way up and you could feel the pounding. Darroh was amazing with his voice and clearly payed close attention to his sound even though he jumped around spasmodically.

    Interestingly, “Fables from a Mayfly…” is a concept album, that you only really understand when you look at the album art and read their full-length lyrics (available on some websites). Several have commented on the meaning, but they to me, clearly call out the issues that America faces today. For example, Track 5 “April Fools and Eggmen” must be referring to the media.

    This CD is definitely something to add to your collection, and promises to be one that you will listen to again and again. We’ll be hearing a lot more about Fair to Midland.

    Posted on December 27, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • If the Mars Volta is anything like Fair to Midland, it’s in their marriage of rock to other-world influences. The Mars Volta typically find an excuse to go all the way out to the fourth rock from the sun to do it. Fair to Midland travel as far as Tibet, Egypt and Spain (not to mention Earth’s oceans, perhaps?), but the result is no less invitingly alien to a melodic ear. Step up to the table and feast upon song titles like “Dance of the Manatee” and “April Fools and Eggmen,” with spacey/weird lyrics that Cobain might have admired, to boot.

    Hailing from Sulphur Springs, TX, Fair to Midland’s ten year life as a band has seen them make the startling transformation from an ultra-alternative/experimental, bordering on “world music” jam band, into viciously melodic hard rockers with a healthy dose of every band member’s guilty pleasures, and a healthy appreciation for continued experimentation. “Fables from a Mayfly,” their major label debut on Serjical Strike, follows up 2004’s self-produced inter.funda.stifle with re-recordings of six tracks from that album, several new songs, and a blast from the past mined from archaic demos (“A Wolf Descends Upon the Spanish Sahara”). Some longtime fans might find the easily radio ready new album a mixed bag, but my suspicions tell me that this will look pretty damn good on many a list of those tired of the likes of Fall Out Boy, The Killers, and Arcade Fire carrying the torch for “rock” music.

    Smashing single “Dance of the Manatee,” a mainstay of the band’s catalog since its embryonic beginnings, sees a mostly positive revamp, spit-shining the song’s punishing, Eastern-flavored shred riff, and launching the vocal-propelled chorus to the greatest heights the track has yet seen. The throat-rending bridge section, however, suffers a tad from its inter.funda.stifle counterpart, losing a bit of gutteral power and poignancy in favor of mainstream palatability. The result sounds a bit cheesy when compared side by side with the earlier recording. On the flip side, the following song, “Kyla Cries Cologne,” another inter.funda.stifle remake, sees the most dramatic improvement of any of the older songs– increased production values and overall improved recording clarity really bring the vocal melody to the front to let the track shine. Likewise, “Vice/Versa”’s guitars and melody are strengthened immensely with this version, making for a grand-prize-slap-in-the-face chorus, indeed. The upgrade to “Upgrade^Brigade” is a revamped recording that strays closer to live performances of the track, emphasizing its chaotic, stop-start guitar riffs and among the most impressive Darroh Sudderth vocals in Fair to Midland’s catalog.

    “A Seafarer’s Knot” and “Walls of Jericho” see moderate improvement to what were already oustanding tunes. The former’s pinball guitars and rippling keyboard lines crash on the deck with livewire intensity, while the latter sees a sweetened bridge replete with heavenly harmony and fattened bass.

    For many “i.f.s” fans, the new pieces on “Fables” initially will seem out of place in the tracklist. But there’s nothing much else to complain about: “April Fools and Eggmen” is a high-flying crunchfest (with a simple, but highly catchy lone guitar riff fitting the verses and choruses together), while “Tall Tales Taste Like Sour Grapes” features a tastefully Victorian-esque violin and piano intro which blossoms into a power anthem showcasing (like most of the songs here) Darroh Sudderth’s stunning self-trained vocals. “The Wife, The Kids…” is one of the weaker songs on the record, but Sudderth’s voice yanks the track into high gear for the skyscraping bridge/outro. Perhaps most disappointing is the closing track “Say When,” which fails to top the semi-acoustic fever dream “Quince” from inter.funda.stifle as a closer in both power and originality.

    Fair to Midland fans and Mars Volta fans might get along if everyone can recognize that both bands are swimming against the grain of mainstream mediocrity whilst, well, swimming in it. Both are great at singing, playing guitar, and marrying their influences into something fresh… though perhaps Fair to Midland do so a tad less obviously. Marriage is the name of the game with this band. Whether they’re marrying melody and power, or experimentalism and staying power, these five guys are doing great things for the future of rock ‘n’ roll.

    Posted on December 27, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now