Local Review: Farewell Drifters following played-out trend

Posted on January 20, 2014 in Arts & Culture
By dkelly

Tomorrow Forever, set to be released next Tuesday, shows The Farewell Drifters in the midst of development.

The tracks off of Tomorrow Forever stick close to the folk-rock sound that has risen to prominence in recent years. Ambient drums are mixed with driving rhythms, strummed mandolin and acoustic guitar are matched with loud vocals. Electric guitar parts round out the mix with classic clean country twang and background parts are laden with distortion.

The Farewell Drifters write melodies and chord progressions that are classic pop. Three and four-chord songs dominate this album, and melodies rarely leave the confines of extreme consonance. This type of composition makes for a sound that is endlessly pleasing. After all, it has been used countless times before garnering great success.

But with this simplicity hovers unoriginality. Simplicity is best when it allows for something new to be created, not a reproduction of something already done. However, this is not to say that The Farewell Drifters are just another band riding the newest trend. The folk revival has produced a number of worthwhile bands, and it is premature to say that The Farewell Drifters should be excluded from this list.

Tomorrow Forever certainly displays an impressive level of arranging proficiency. “Brother,” for example, employs tastefully executed lead guitar work. Telecaster twang oozing with slow and intense tremolo adds the perfect touch to this country-inspired song. Peripheral instruments, such as the organ on “Bring ‘em Back Around” and strings on “Motions” show production that is both well thought out and clean. These mixed-down instruments lend themselves nicely to their perspective songs.

However, the quality of the arrangement can only take these tracks so far. The best tunes are the ones that are able to sound equally as great no matter how they are performed. Right now, the twelve tunes that make up Tomorrow Forever would be hard pressed to stand up straight without their aides of arrangement. But The Farewell Drifters show abundant potential. As this relatively new band seasons, there is a high likelihood that more profound levels of musical insight will emerge. In the meantime, listeners should keep a close eye on the possible developmental strides.