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Fairmont - Transcendence Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8
Production 8.75
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 8.25
Reviewer Tilt 8.75
Final Verdict: 83%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.94
Musicianship 10
Lyrics 10
Production 9.75
Creativity 10
Lasting Value 10
Reviewer Tilt 9.5
Average: 99%

Fairmont - Transcendence

Reviewed by: Susan Frances (10/28/08)
Fairmont - Transcendence
Record Label: Mint 400 Records
Release Date: October 14, 2008

Fairmont’s frontman Neil Sabatino has led an insecure relationship with the music industry. Just when everything seemed set for Sabatino, the floor dropped from under his feet and he was forced to have to climb back up the ladder to be where he was before. A former member of New Jersey’s indie-rock outfit Pencey Prep, Sabatino was dropped from the band abruptly. The move gave him the impetus to start up his own group, Fairmont, named after the town in Minnesota where his wife is from, and where Pencey Prep was warmly received the last time that Sabatino played with them there. Fairmont has undergone several lineup changes since its inception, but its current list of members suit Sabatino’s style of rock like a hand through a latex glove. Fairmont’s latest release Transcendence shows influences of folk, rock, and pop-oriented drama. Produced by Bryan Russell (Envy on the Coast, Straylight Run), the album has a festive exuberance liken to Modest Mouse and bouncy melodic riffs reminiscent of Rogue Wave.

For fans who remember last year’s movie Across The Universe, the film which was a tribute to The Beatles music, Transcendence has similar melodic lifts, strong definition, pleasing coloring, and pop-oriented drama as the music in the film. The chord movements fold into peaks and valleys along tracks like “Being and Nothingless” and “Luck will Change” manifesting a theatrical-pop glitz and sleek clasps holding the bouncy ionic mass together. Sabatino shows a vibrant elasticity as he moves his vocals up and down the melodic scale with a skillful fluidity and perception for shaping his voice into what the melody needs. The cells of xylophone-toned taps peeking through the circus-like chorus of “Nowhere, Mass” have a catchy flicking as the folksy links chaining “Omaha” together have a more down home vibe. The silky molecules winged by violinist Clancy Flynn and keyboardist Christian Kisala through “Prick” create smooth atmospherics pillared by catchy handclapping beats made by drummer Andy Applegate as the lyrics release feelings of self-doubt, “Sometimes you make me so frustrated / Sometimes I try to hide the way I’m feeling inside / Maybe, maybe, Baby, Baby … I’m not the guy you thought I was.”

Sabatino’s vocals have a fatherly stroking in “Everyone hates a Critic” as he advises, “Love what you do, and do what you love.” Many of Fairmont’s tracks move to a rhythmic marching beat that pierces through the folksy rock flurries mobilizing splashing strokes and scattered showers in songs like “Please Don’t Go” and “True Love Waits For Me,” which features singer Suzie Zeldin’s angelic voicing on harmony vocals. The band must have liked the way her voice sounded against Sabatino’s gentle tones because she also sings harmony vocals on “Melt Your Heat” and the slower paced “Awkward Silence.” The music wraps around their vocals comfortably with rock band-type tooling and clean fluctuations that shift the tempos gradually.

Fairmont’s new album Transcendence has imaginative turns, emotive lifts, and a folksy rock basting relatable to Modest Mouse. The band recorded the album at Red Wire Audio and called on some friends/musicians to contribute on the recording including Teeter Sperber, Charlie Seich from The Narrative, and Russell and Matt Zugale. Fairmont is a band that has many layers to them, and each one has a purpose in the songs. Sabatino told IndependentClauses.com last year, "We all love just playing music … There's no drama in the band." But if you take a listen to Transcendence, you will probably feel an indescribable connection between the album and the music for the film Across the Universe. The stories behind both share a similar vibe.

Recommended if you like: Modest Mouse, Aqueduct, Rogue Wave, The Narrative

Displaying posts 1 - 6 of 6
10:42 AM on 10/29/08
Jeremy Aaron
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That cover art looks familiar. I think I checked them out when Linda had them listed as "new stuff that came in the mail" a while back. I'll have to revisit them, as this sounds interesting. I must say though, that Across the Universe is a scourge on society: more of an insult to the Beatles than a tribute.
01:21 PM on 10/29/08
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Transcendence is a fantastic album! The story flows from the first track to the last; the lyrics are unique and imaginative and there is an overwhelming ongoing beat that can keep you listening for hours. Omaha sounds exciting and dangerous, whereas Melt Your Heart could drain the emotion from any altruistic being’s spirit. Too many other bands have been getting the publics attention, and they do not know what they are missing out on.

Definitely my favourite album of 2008!
01:42 PM on 10/29/08
lazy bones.
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wyverna's Avatar
I love this! Fairmont are amazing, totally deserve this review.
05:08 PM on 10/29/08
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DedJen's Avatar
Great review!
So glad to see Fairmont getting some much-deserved attention. Amazing band fronted by an amazing and multi-talented man. If you dig indie melodic rock with a soul, then check out this band!
12:34 AM on 10/30/08
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yay. Fairmont is an amazing band and this album deserves positive attention :)
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