This is the sixth studio album from a South Carolina five-piece who have been plying their trade since way back in 1997, but who have evaded my attention until now, and who state that their vision is “to create melodic and powerful positive music that mixes the influence of rock, folk, classical and more”. The sleeve notes end with the statement “Soli Deo Gloria” which thanks to Wikipedia I now know translates as ‘Glory to God alone’, but unlike many acts where this dedication would be a cause of some concern to non-believers like myself, the content of the lyrics here is obviously heartfelt but not preachy, so I can provide the reassurance that no bibles were bashed during the recording of this album!
Normally in a review of a band which I would guess will be unfamiliar to many people I would try to find a couple of similar but better known acts as a rough guide to the musical territory we are talking about, but I must confess that I’m struggling to come up with comparisons which would do this band full justice.
Farpoint manage the impressive task of combining elements of all their musical influences within each song on this album seamlessly even when the genres involved are very different. This skill is amply demonstrated within the first couple of minutes of the opening track, which begins with full-on power chords and REM-style riffing leading into a vocal and acoustic guitar section of pure Americana giving way to some pomp-prog guitar and synth interplay. I can’t think of very many other bands who within one song can conjure up shades of Tori Amos and Bad Company (Who Are You) or Grateful Dead and Camel (Stand).
The band boasts twin lead vocalists, one male one female, but rather than simply alternating duties either on complete tracks or sections of tracks a good proportion of the vocals are delivered simultaneously and although I personally think that Abby Thompson has the stronger and more distinctive of the two voices, the combination is far more effective than a lone vocalist would have been.
Instrumentally they are equally at home in acoustic or electric mode, switching effortlessly between the two, and their overall sound is richly layered with subtle guitar and keyboard colouring, underpinned, and sometimes driven, by some outstanding bass playing from Frank Tyson, who for me is the instrumental star of the show.
So, have Farpoint succeeded in complying with their vision statement? Well, at a time when it seems that more and more bands feel the need to engage in some kind of ‘outquirking’ contest, this album delivers some plain honest to goodness well written well performed melodic prog, which is perfectly fine by me, so that’s a yes. In fact it’s more than a yes, this is a terrific album which deserves to be widely heard. Give it a listen if you can.
01. Up To You (7:45)
02. Part Of Me (4:30)
03. Gone (7:44)
04. Half A World Away (5:17)
05. Who Are You (6:04)
06. Stand (8:18)
07. Vision Quest (12:15)
08. One More Sunset (5:39)
09. Power (2:55)
Total Time – 60:27
Dean Hallal – Lead & Backing Vocals
Kevin Jarvis – Guitars, Keyboards, Mandolin & Vocals
Abby Thompson – Lead & Backing Vocals – Piano (5)
Frank Tyson – Bass, Electric Guitars & Vocals
Rick Walker – Drums & Percussion
Christi Hunter Brownlow – Violin
Jennifer Meeks Weich – Flute
Record Label: 10t Records
Year Of Release: 2014
Paint the Dark (2014)
Cold Star Quiet Star (2008)
From Dreaming to Dreaming (2004)
First Light (2002)
Water Of Life: Live At The Sumter Opera House (2012)