Far Away Stables have attempted a far reach with this new album. The ambition and intent to demonstrate musicality and musicianship is well on display as much as the bands grasp on melody and song writing. It’s not so much..technical..or progressive, it’s just very dramatic, busy and confident.
Sounding more like a cross between Coheed and Circa Survive than perhaps should be allowed, the band have clearly grown and developed over their journey and seem to have collected an array of tricks and techniques to employ on the album.
The opening track ‘Caldera’ features a colossal string line and pummelling rhythm that should move your head..or feet even if for a moment. It’s a big entrance. As a lead single that song serves as a terrific introduction to what else you might expect from them.
Whilst not a constant feature, the group use keys and electronics to their advantage perhaps as equally as a guitar player might use pedals. It’s all about the light and shade, the icing and the cake.
The dominant elements however are really the vocals and guitars. When I say guitars..what im talking about is the near endless supply of noodling, leads and cyclic parts that are almost always littering the background. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but if they were mixed any louder they would totally overbear and distract.
There were a few times whilst listening when I wish I could have reached into the studio and said ‘hey…why don’t you try NOT playing just for a second?’. There simply isn’t a lot of space in between what everyone else is doing and a lot of that comes from overplaying or gap filling which might have been better left alone. On the other hand..when you’re watching something to go with it..pieces fit together quite like a puzzle. Very nicely in this instance. (watch the vid..its a goodie)
The band are easily at their strongest when all units are locked in and driving the point home together and the best examples of this usually occur at the beginning and then again at the end of the tracks. Where I struggled with the material on ‘Between Rage and Serenity’ is in all the midway points. The choruses never stuck with me despite the clear and evident talent and power of Brendan Sheargold’s voice not to mention the abundance of harmonies and layering. That said, it can’t save a track with no soul and that right there .. im sorry to say.. is my issue with this album. Given the repeated listens, I could not connect with it or feel it. It’s just too safe. If there is any passion or vulnerability, any risk taking or challenge to be felt here..it’s too hidden.
Whilst all the sounds are great, kudos to the engineer behind the desk for doing such a top-notch job, it is incredibly slammed, produced and tight. I’d prefer to hear a live re-recording of this whole album than continue with the studio version.
Between Rage and Serenity’ wasn’t to my liking as much as I wanted it to be..but for many others this will hit the spot with all certainty. The songs, riffs and highlight moments will draw plenty of attention from onlookers and fans of similar artists. My hope is that the next offering will be one that branches out and goes full retard rather than painting inside the lines. That would be something to get excited about. For now, the future looks pretty bright for Far Away Stables with this arsenal of material and no doubt it’s going to find its mark.
RIYL: Circa Survive, Receiving End Of Sirens, Coheed And Cambria