Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Farewell Continental - ¡Hey, Hey Pioneers!

Okay, let's just set this straight: Farewell Continental is probably going to be best known for the fact that Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack is in the band and handles vocal and guitar duties. The band used aliases to disguise their real identities (cleverly using nothing but names from Harrison Ford films) but the cat is out of the bag, so we can move on from that.

What does Farewell Continental sound like? I hate to draw comparisons to Motion City Soundtrack, but it's going to happen. And they do sound somewhat similar, although Farewell Continental relies more heavily on the noisy production values that many early 90's indie bands used (whether intentional or not). It's not noisy like a Radiohead or Sigur Ros album, nor it is noisy like a teenage metalcore band. It's more in line with the fuzzy guitar tones of Dinosaur Jr. or something (I'm not an expert on this genre, so examples will be sparse). I've seen people describe the album's sounds as quirky and weird. I don't think it's any more weird than anything else Justin Pierre has done. Also there are duel male/female vocals present.

Obviously MCS fans will come for the Pierre-fronted songs, although keyboardist/vocalis Kari Gray has power to capture new fans too (such as myself). She sometimes sounds like she's straining to hit some notes, but they're also copying the best parts of a genre that was done by people who weren't necessarily great singers so she's in good company. Pierre and Gray are at their best when they trade back and forth, such as in "Capybara" where they seem to be having a call-and-response party, or in "Dagger, Dagger: Terror Terror" when Pierre takes the verses and Gray handles the chorus or even the flipping of positions in "Mad Operator."

Just to recap, Farewell Continental sounds like Motion City Soundtrack, if Motion City Soundtrack took more from Pavement or Dinosaur Jr than from Weezer and also had a female vocalist. Lyrically the songs are just as solid as anything else Pierre has done and the album is a whole lot of fun to listen to- even if it's not entirely original. The band even takes a jab at themselves for blatantly ripping off their favorite bands during the bridge of "Radio Radio: Are You Getting This?" so it at least shows that they're aware of what they are doing.

The album does begin drag on toward the end with only a few standout tracks during the ending half. I know that people will disagree with me, but I think this album probably could have worked better as a 10 track album. It's not a bad album at all and it definitely ranks higher than even some works by Motion City Soundtrack (particularly 2007's Even If It Kills Me). This band definitely has what it takes to become even bigger and better by album number 2, and I eagerly await it.

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