Sound — 10
When I first heard this band on my satellite radio I thought to myself "What the hell am I hearing?" The heavy, crunchy guitar slide on 'Dance of the Manatee' made me stop changing channels the second I heard it. They are completely unique and I havn't ever heard anything like it before or since. No one these days seems to have the skill to do what they do. Through the whole album I liked the way the guitar accentuated the overall sound of the band and didn't ever go so far as to break the rhythm just to show off. The bass drops a low, rhythmic sound into the mix while the drums pound out a beat flawlessly despite many changes in the time signature on even one song. Keyboards rarely mix the classical and contemporary sounds as well as Fair to Midland does and such singing is rare as well.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics show an especially unique amount of thought and twist modern sayings and stories to suit it's needs giving the songs the sound of a modern fairytale to keep people thinking. The music keeps a very enigmatic tone and sound throughout to keep with the sounds of the lyrics and vocals, and Darroh Suderth has the voice of that can beautifully hit notes from one end of the spectrum to the other. He can go instantly from high and poweful to metallic and growling. He shows some very impressive skill in his range that can be heard in other acts such as Saosin and Three Days Grace but he does them both in a single song which is truly impressive.
Overall Impression — 10
Basically the best way to create another Fair To Midland would be to take dredg, Tool, R.E.M., your favorite childhood fairy tales, throw them into a blender and push puree. This band (particularly on this album) reminds of the experimental sound of dredg and the progressive metal style of Tool, as well as the enigmatic lyrics of Michael Stipe of R.E.M., all the while keeping a unique edge all their own. Every song is pure gold, but three stand alone in a class all their own. 'Dance of the Manatee' is unique in every way, even the name. The lyrics are psychadelic and hard to understand but after the overall confusion passes a story begins to take shape. 'Fables' appears to be a concept album to me, so all the songs tell the same story, but I can't be sure. However, Other songs hold sway over the others still, two others capture my imagination and send inspiration running through my mind, they are of course 'Kyla Cries Cologne' and 'Say When.' In the first song the keyboard enters in a blaze of glory setting the pace for the songs with a classical sound. The guitar is constantly stopping and starting with bursts of energy to add flare to the overall production and Brett Stowers, the drummer, shows an impressive amount of technique and dexterity, particularly in this song. There is honestly not one thing I dislike about this album, it suit's me fine and shows that their is still skill in rock music today.