"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, November 12, 2004

From Dreaming to Dreaming, by Farpoint

The new disc by the South Carolina-based band Farpoint, From Dreaming to Dreaming, finally makes real the potential suggested by the band's first two discs. Farpoint combines progressive rock with American folk traditions and a strong melodic sense to create a very passionate kind of intelligent and sophisticated rock-based music. The first full-length song on From Dreaming to Dreaming, "Autumn Sky," sets the tone with a very catchy organ line and driving rhythm reminiscent of Guy Manning's terrific song "Tightrope" (from his The Ragged Curtain CD) plus a very strong and appealing vocal performance by Dana Oxendine, who is becoming a very accomplished vocalist.

Similarly attractive organ work adorns "Here and Now," which also has a fine lead vocal melody line and passionate singing performances by Ms. Oxendine and Clark Boone. "Sojourn" has a very interesting acoustic-guitar introduction and accompaniment to Boone's lead vocal, and Oxendine's overdubbed choral background is quite effective, as is her gorgeous, ethereal lead vocal in the bridge. The song also has a very beautiful instrumental passage featuring flute, synthesizer, and electric guitar. It is really quite moving.

The melodic inventiveness begins to flag a bit from this high point, so that tracks 8 and 9 are not as strong as the rest, but the band rebounds with very good work on the last two songs to send things home nicely. Some very appealing organ work by Kevin Jarvis and another appealing acoustic guitar accompaniment enliven "Ashley's Song (Sail On)," for example.

Boone's husky baritone voice is used more effectively than on the band's first two albums and has become a positive musical asset for the group. Frank Tyson's growling, grumbling bass guitar is highly expressive indeed and a standout aspect of the production. The percussion of Rick Walker matches him step for step, and the lead guitar work by Mike Givins is quite good if not overly original (which is hardly a criticism—who can really find something truly new to do on lead guitar these days?). Kevin Jarvis's keyboard work provides a solid foundation of melody and chord accompaniment, and his solos are reminiscent of those achieved by the great 1970s progressive bands. The lyrics deal with important matters, largely spiritual ones, in a mature and intelligent way, although, like nearly all popular-music lyrics, they are by no means poetry. The CD artwork is quite attractive as well.

Definitely recommended.

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