Arrows & Anchors review by Fair to Midland

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  • Released: Jul 11, 2011
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (24 votes)
Fair to Midland: Arrows & Anchors
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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.

23 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Sethis
    Easily one of my favorite albums of all time. Every song in it is pure win.
    incubosity
    The song "Amarillo on my Pillow" definitely is a sarcastic rant about "God".....hmmmmm....probably not a Christian band or even Christians for that matter. Or at least Darroh isnt...
    Rockinguitar
    EpiExplorer wrote: The music's fairly good but I dont like listening to it. Maybe its my prejudice against organized religion (Christian band, btw). Its wierd stuff though, so expect surprises.
    First time in a while I've disagreed with this guy. ANYWAY!!! Can't stop listening to this band since day one!! Was gonna do a review if somebody else didn't!! thanks for it, man!
    metallica-arron
    Amazing. And they're not a Christian band at all... Musical chairs is littered with satirical themes about God/jesus... "if i worship the ground that he walks on and it winds up that he has two left feet. will we be walking on water cause you should know, we never like to get our feet wet" but they are coming from a person who doesn't believe in religion. Read the lyrics... Ambiguous as they are, I have no idea how you came up with the belief that they were a Christian band.
    SikNsydistiK
    This is a great album. A little chevelle, a little helmut, and a singer that grows on you. At first I thought they used two different singers (songs such as rikki rikki tavi, amarillo sleeps on my pillow show such range). Anyways, definitely give it a listen if you like some great american alt hard rock.
    a drummer
    ^He trolls the people, which is one of the reason's i get so much entertainment from this website.
    Loki_37
    a drummer wrote: ahh Epi, UG's most legendary troll
    I'm not so sure about that. He trolls the core bands but come on. He did give them props, so I can't argue with ignorance.
    strat0blaster
    I love this band. I will get this album. Between this and Dead Letter Circus' "This Is The Warning," I should be set for a good while on awesome music.
    ktboardhead
    Yeah i dont know where that "christian band" comment came from. nothing in their lyrics hints at it, and even if the band members happened to be christians, that doesnt automatically pigeon hole the music into that genre (if you can even call "christian" a genre). if that were the case, then where is the "buddhist metal" and "agnostic-vegan garage rock"?
    LastBaron
    YES! I have been listening to this almost non stop since it came out. Just saw them live in sacramento and they were great. darroh is a nut job on stage. only thing i don't like about this album for the most part is it seems that a lot of the dynamics were lost in the production... oh well. and CLIPPING!!! are you kidding me, while i can only really hear it in some of the interludes its really annoying
    Sean117
    Was at the C.D. release in dallas with them and House Harkkonen. HK Totally blew them out of the water anyway.
    Loki_37
    EpiExplorer wrote: The music's fairly good but I dont like listening to it. Maybe its my prejudice against organized religion (Christian band, btw). Its wierd stuff though, so expect surprises.
    What dude? Epi are you seriously serious? I've met these guys, they're not "Christian" at all. Their lead singer even had an interview a while back where he talked about how he wasn't in to contemporary country music because of how "Christian" it was. I've got no problem with Christian bands but I'm just curious where you heard/saw that. Their lyrics are cryptic to say the least, I'm pretty shocked you think they're a Christian band. Hm. Either way, good stuff. Really like these guys.
    vjferrara
    This album has been on almost constant rotation on all of my listening devices size it came out! The interludes can be skipped but the songs are amazing. Saw them in Knoxville and they were awesome live. Darroh sounds even more powerful
    EpiExplorer
    Vinushka wrote: Hell yeah more FtM, these guys are awesome. And Epi, the Christian message isn't rammed down your throat, isn't it good to just appreciate skillful work, regardless of the beliefs behind it?
    ...I do, if you read the thingy. I look past a lot of faults in bands that'd usually put me off, but this band isn't quite good enough to make me like them past the 'message of christ'. For instance, I love the band SikTh, but Justin, the second vocalist, didn't ring well with me, except some good songs (In This Light, Pussyfoot, Summer Rain, etc) but every other bit about the band was as good as they could have ever been.
    Vinushka
    Hell yeah more FtM, these guys are awesome. And Epi, the Christian message isn't rammed down your throat, isn't it good to just appreciate skillful work, regardless of the beliefs behind it?
    HSysV
    Such a brilliant record and such a shame they had to break up. Even though it's unlikely, I hope they will one day reunite so I can finally see them play live
    EpiExplorer
    The music's fairly good but I dont like listening to it. Maybe its my prejudice against organized religion (Christian band, btw). Its wierd stuff though, so expect surprises.
    Slayton101
    Yeah... not a Christian band, nice try though. Also, for people looking at this review should know that due to financial trouble and friction within the group Fair to Midland has broken up for now.