Sound — 9
The band has evolved its sound, and with four years to prepare, Fair To Midland's latest album brings everything they have to the table. Sonically speaking, "Arrows" pulls elements from their previous work on "Fables", while refining older styles from their early days as an independent group. From crunching guitar work, to thick basslines, and even the melodic mix of keys, all bridged together with a healthy rhythm section, the band has its own sound, and is only further polished with the focal point of the band - Darroh's varied vocals.
Lyrics — 10
The songs themselves deal with lyrical elements that are up to interpretation, but seem to mirror the bands lackluster career, contrasting the musical genius of the band. They have been on the road for years, and while the fans are absolutely thirlled with anything FTM, the financial success of "Fables" has left the members with a darker outlook on life. On the plus side, this leads this album through a much darker tone, and Darroh's perfect combination of falsetto, trembling growls, harsh screams (while rare), and a gripping mid section convey the emotion and artistic intergrity of this relatively unknown band. Lyrically speaking, the band plays on words, and this aids in the metaphorical nature of each and every song, leaving a fresh sound and meaning upon each listen. Coupled with choruses that will be echoing in your head for days, the messages this band brings invokes and provokes thought.
Overall Impression — 9
How does this stack up to their previous work? The interludes the band utilizes can be forgettable when compared to those on "Fables", but they do serve to introduce songs and transition in tone, and in the whole of the album, they lend to the story it tells much like Darroh's stream-of-consciousness lyrical style. Every single song stands on its own, and there isn't a bit of filler, aside from interludes. The album touches down, from the very start, and hits the ground running. Tempos vary, and this band relies on a musical element that many bands forget these days - dynamics. A true example of this is in the heaviest/softest track, "Rikki Tikki Tavi". The albums ends with "The Greener Grass", a solid piece just shy of 11 minutes, making up for lost time in interludes. This band begs for a listen, and "Arrows & Anchors" is an album that will surely bring Fair To Midland the recognition they deserve.