Recently, I came across a band in the Twitterverse called Farewell, My Love. I went into the process of checking them out with an open mind but not having the highest of expectations that something was going to catch my attention. What I found right off the bat was group of guys who most certainly make a statement with their styling choices. Like several other bands I have looked into recently FML has the make-up, the hair, the clothing, the attitude but most importantly this band has presence; but a style or look can only get you so far, in the end it is the music that matters, let’s talk about the music.
I checked out their official video for their single “Portraits” off of their EP, A Dance You Won’t Forget. The video had a little acting preface at the beginning and I was still not sure at this point if I was going to like FML or not. When the song did start my preconceptions of this band changed immediately. When you write about music sometimes you can tend to be cynical about the business and the music, you listen to a vast amount of bands and nothing grabs you; then you hear a song like “Portraits” and you remember the reasons why you began writing about and reviewing music in the first place.
As soon as I heard the intro to “Portraits” I knew I liked this band and was looking forward to seeing how the video and the song played out. The same way I dissect bands/songs by instrumentation quality, lyrical quality, vocals, etc. I dissect music videos and stage presentation the same way. In videos I look for mannerisms because yes the music/talent is a very important thing but confidence and showmanship also plays a role in the product as a whole. Farewell, My Love’s frontman Caleb Harbin has magnetism; he grabbed his mike and its cord like it was a weapon, walked toward the camera and with a facial gesture and a shake of his head, in that 5 seconds I saw a guy who was well into finding his own personal swagger. Then I heard Caleb’s vocals, he has a very distinct and interesting tone in his voice. This was a huge selling point for me because I like something a little different; unique in my opinion can be a good thing. FML projects a very theatrical feeling through every member of the band, not to mention the very serious hair of their guitarist Röbby Creasey. At first glance I found myself wondering if Max Green (The Natural Born Killers, Escape the Fate) had a brother, because Röbby has the same kind of vibe and a slight resemblance. Needless to say my interest was definitely piqued, so I looked into FML further.
“…a Theatrical Rock band aiming to create a world where art, not hype, transcends the entire performance both musically & visually. We aim to inspire those that feel misguided or lost, & to show our LOVERS that they can be anything they dream.
Embrace creativity. Embrace individuality. Embrace your inner strength.
WELCOME TO OUR VISION.”
At the time I discovered FML they were a four-piece unit with Caleb Harbin on vocals, Röbby Creasey on guitar, Gary Grant on bass and Chad Kowal on drums. I had noted that I wished they had a second guitarist. I am not saying that one guitar isn’t perfectly acceptable, and in my opinion a single guitar in the studio can work just fine; but when it comes to live shows I prefer a lead and rhythm guitar. I think two guitarists fill out a band’s sound and give a certain depth to the music– at least in my eyes, or should I say to my ears, it does.
Farewell, My Love released their 6 song EP A Dance You Won’t Forget on August 16, 2011. I recently picked it up on iTunes, needless to say I was not disappointed and here are some highlights of this EP. A Dance You Won’t Forget kicks off with its title track and I admit I was still on the fence a bit with FML and wondered if “Portraits” was as good as it gets. I really liked Caleb’s voice and so far this first track was good, but would it wow me? That moment came as soon as it hit the chorus, because that is where this song really finds its groove– not to mention a seriously good bridge. The track was vocally and musically tight and all of these elements are what truly sell this song. The lyrics just seem to stick with you and I found myself out of nowhere singing “you make me crazy girl, but not enough for me to say. I’ll let you hold my heart; no I’ll let you in for a taste.” Interesting songwriting can be such a plus, don’t you agree? I thought you would.
I have no complaints with the next song, “Wrong & Right”. It has a very catchy sound and this is something I discover continues throughout this EP. This song has great hooks, not to mention some thought-provoking lyrics; “it’s so surreal to look into the eyes of the ones who tore apart your life. I try, I try it never seems to satisfy.” I am sure there are more than a few people who can relate to that feeling.
The third track, “The Glamour”, has some seriously good melodies, an ear pleasing guitar solo and some really great beats. We then move into “The Hardest Heart”, which is a decent track, but I think it would have been better without the added screams. There are so many bands that scream these days and believe me I have no problem with it, but I don’t think FML needs it or that it is suited for their style or music. I think they are solid without heading in that direction, but that is just my opinion.
Now on to “Portraits” which is the absolute strongest song on this EP and I absolutely love it, every element of this song feels right. Again, great hooks, chorus, just great music, if you don’t like it, well that is just crazy talk. A Dance You Won’t Forget closes out with “Just Another Soul”, which lyrically has a very serious vibe throughout. The only critique I have is the way the song ended. I really think FML didn’t need to go with the grand choir sound to wrap up this track. Caleb’s unique vocals would have been more than enough to bring the EP to completion with a strong piano accompaniment. That is all this song really needed, sometimes less is more.
From the start I was very certain of my opinion of Farewell, My Love. My conclusions were that a label should pick these guys up and sign them. That FML needed to be paired with the right producer to help iron out some of the rough edges and then an addition of a second guitarist. I was also of the opinion that if they could find a way to pull in a little bit of levity to the band dynamic that wouldn’t be a bad thing. The members of Farewell, My Love seem to have a great work ethic, a true love of what they are doing and a close communication/interaction with their fans and with those pieces of the puzzle in place I believed FML could do really well for themselves. I guess I was not alone in my opinion because in February 2012 the band announced they had been picked up and signed to Standby Records.
Not long after the band was signed they bid farewell to their original bassist Gary Grant. After Grant’s departure Charlee Conley filled his position on bass and they added a second guitarist Logan Thayer, funny how that worked out, but happy about the addition of a second guitarist. I am looking forward to hearing what the newest members bring to the band’s sound. Farewell, My Love is currently in the studio recording its first full length album with Standby Records. They are holed up at Studio D Production in Cleveland, OH with producer Don Debiase (Modern Day Escape, Beneath The Sky, For All Those Sleeping), with the expectation of a Fall 2012 release for their “Lovers” (a nickname the band has given their fans). Over the weekend Chad completed the drum tracking.
Farewell, My Love can come across as an extremely serious band, which could be misunderstood and turn a few people off. It had no effect on my opinion, but I felt it needed to be addressed regardless. It is obvious that FML takes their band and their music seriously, which is a really great attribute, but with the addition of Thayer, guitar skills aside, who seems to have a very energetic, fun-loving and high-spirited personality, I think that will add the aforementioned levity I was looking for in this band. Hell, he just looks like he knows how to have a good time.
What more can I say? Farewell, My Love’s lyrics are well written and I am sure that many fans will see themselves throughout many of those words. I honestly was surprised at the depth of the subject matter of their lyrics for such a young band; so KUDOS to the songwriting. Musically the band sounds spot on with a nod to Chad Kowal for some pretty bad ass drumming and great usage of double bass. To me double bass is like cowbell, there can never be too much of it.
So there you have it, my summation of how I see this band and their vision. I think you should really add A Dance You Won’t Forget to your music collection and give these guys a chance. I am truly looking forward to checking out their upcoming CD to find out if my gut instincts about this band were indeed correct, and that they really are a band you won’t forget.
A Dance You Won’t Forget is available now on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/a-dance-you-wont-forget-ep/id455850073