Harrisburg, PA’s Farewell Flight constructs that kind of indie rock that aims to tug at your heartstrings -- to make you feel nostalgic, but also to rock you a bit. Luke Foley’s tender vocal timbre will remind you of Jesse Lacey, and their rock is RIYL Death Cab, Nada Surf or Owen. While the drums hit hard and lock tight with the bass, the guitars stay light with acoustic or clean electric. Keys and other effects weave into the mix. These guys have their shit together; however, they aren’t doing anything mind-blowing or unheard of here.
After their two EPs in 2006, Sound. Color. Motion. is their first full-length, and it sounds gangbusters in the production department. “Widower” starts with arpeggiated acoustic chords and even as the drums kick in it drives while still keeping that ‘twinkly’ feeling. But maybe they take the gloss too far, with chimes (or keyboard chimes) to match the “ding dong” of the vocals, and then there’s the two kinds of robotic vocal effects found in the track. The chorus is hella catchy though, in that emo way: “Turning thirty-five / Still sleep alone at night / I’ll be alone for all my life” and “Turning thirty-five / I’m like an old man inside / Just waiting for his turn to die.” “Sailor’s Mouth” breaks down to drums and gang vocals at the end, with some crazy Bon Jovi-style reverb on the beat. Maybe a bit much? Kinda cool, but then they use it again at the end of “Slow” to end the album like a drum-line marching through a cathedral. Who am I kidding -- I love over-using effects on my own stuff. All my friends can attest.
Foley has a way with a hook, like the way in “Over” the synth and guitars chase the tumbling vocal melody as it descends on the sustained “life.” The guys also have their way with a head-bobbin’ beat, as the coda of “Phones” gets a bit funky with its sweet bassline and drums, yet the piano -- pedal depressed -- keeps things dreamy.
Previously mentioned “Sailor’s Mouth” starts with an odd My Morning Jacket pop-meets-barn-dance thing goin’ on, but if anything, it breaks up what has remained a pretty stagnant style through the first half of the album. A bit more faux-country seeps in with the Bright Eyes shuffle of “America Will Break Your Heart,” oddly one of my favorites here. I dig how the piano plunks and glockenspiel dance around each other as well as the vocals, and the tasteful cello line. However, the rushed disco of “Begin Again” sounds a bit forced, and the little pseudo-hip-hop chant break in “Indianapolis” is just odd and chuckle-inducing; perhaps that’s the intent.
Farewell Flight is a talented bunch who I’m sure will win over many fans of bands mentioned above if given the chance. Yet, however tight and well-constructed this set is, it’s not winning many originality points over here, and while I’m enjoying it, I’m not sure how often this will find its way to back my stereo once I hit 'submit.'