Sound — 9
Fair To Midland has been around since 1998, but didn't get much attention from the mightiest of the world, releasing their records independently. With their third full-length it seems the band's underrated period is finally over. Fables From A Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True is recorded on Serjical Strike label headed by System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian. It fact they are the first band to be singed to the record label. Fair To Midland are fusing so many influences and styles in their music, it's hard to compare them to anything in particular. The band has difficulties defining their music genre themselves, describing it as something that's cohesive, intensely focused, and in a bold new category all it's own. While bombing drums by Brett Stowers and distorted guitars by Cliff Campbell are here for the dynamic effect, piano by Matt Langley varies the music a lot and adds a melodic component to it. Fair To Midland creates the intense by blending aggressive with sensitive, violent with delicate and diluting it with hardcore breakdowns. They flavor the music with almost imperceptible electronics, which accomplishes the band's unique sound. Produced by David Bottrill (Tool, Peter Gabriel), the record carries a certain influence of Bottrill with a few Tool-like elements in it. The guys have recorded about 17 tracks for the CD, only 11 of which made it through, thus there are no filler material on the album. Two of the tracks -- Kyla Cries Cologne and Seafarer's Knot are borrowed from the band's The Drawn and Quartered EP, released earlier on Serjical Strike label.
Lyrics — 9
Fables From A Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True will give you something to think about. The band tells philosophical stories, using rare words and interesting metaphors. They are questioning things like Are the birds of a feather that clever? Of course there are songs on the same trite subject everybody gets inspiration from -- love. But they are very well-written -- something you can quote in a love-letter to your girlfriend without feeling stupid. Darroh Sudderth has a very strong voice. He sounds great both in a loud soaring roar and in a quiet soft singing. Sudderth claims he tries a bit of everything in his vocals and he pays a lot attention to how he's doing it. The result turns out to sound very professional. He was a bassist originally, but the band couldn't find a singer, so Sudderth had no choice but to try himself in singing. Ironically what seemed like a desperate situation, turned out really good. Sudderth's carrying the duties of the vocalist better than anybody and can as well compete with the greatest rock singers.
Overall Impression — 9
Even though it's only their third LP in almost ten years, it's obvious the guys didn't waste time. They say the band wasn't any good for the first five years. Well, the rest of the time has surely been very fruitful. Their musical force is very strong and unique in a way of being solid. The name of the third album sounds a bit awkward, but that is probably the only disappointing moment about the whole CD. Though the album sounds very organic, all the songs are different and there's something to remember about each track. There are no catchy melodies, but Fair To Midland still find a way to make you remember the song. You have to give the album a few careful listens and it'll grow on you. The music is pretty complicated and quite unusual; I'd advise you to listen to the album is headphones as it demands your full attention.