By Becca Martin
Awkward. That is what I feel after listening to the latest LP release by Fathom Lane. I own that emotion as I experienced the band live recently and was not wowed. However, I really like what the bare bones, vintage if you will, recording to tape technique accomplished in the studio. This old school way of recording evokes an earlier but very resonant and brooding sound.
This band is a departure for frontman Michael Ferrier who, in the past, didn’t gravitate to a pared down sound. Formed in 2012, this is their debut release. At times “Down by Half” delivers an almost country alt sound with bits of folk thrown in. The album overall is thoughtful and gentle owing to personal experiences and the desire for a new sound that could more easily connect with the audience in a straightforward manner.
By far the song that I liked the most was “Snowbride”. It is a haunting melody that showcases the skilled use of the upright bass. Another highlight was “Naked in the Grass”. A very fully produced song, almost orchestral in scope, but not overdone. “Ghost of Me” is a bit of a departure, but I liked the heavy, loaded guitar. Now I get all the pedals that I saw at their Live Letters performance. In the song “Sweet September” the voices of Michael Ferrier and Ashleigh Still harmonize beautifully. “Hope You Never” is a thoughtful offering, warning a former love of not seeking what they in fact have done to the storyteller. A lot has been written about Fathom Lane’s cover of Polica’s “Wandering Star”-I agree with it all-a perfect marriage of artist and song. I could listen to it over and over again.
Fathom Lane has a lot of promise. This six piece band is one to keep an eye on. I am eager to see their progression and what may develop. Their next show with the incredible Freedy Johnston is March 30th at the Aster Café.