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.