Fair To Midland
Arrows & Anchors
The fourth album by Texas prog-rockers Fair to Midland is undoubtedly their heaviest, often times to a fault. Over the course of these 15 songs, the quintet’s main focus seems to be radio-rock fare a la Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace (“Heavens To Murgatroyd,” “A Loophole In Limbo”) instead of the progressive, inventive instrumentation that puts them miles beyond anything jocked by local modern-rock DJs. There’s always been a heavier influence in the band’s music, but on Arrows & Anchors, their ambitious desires to step outside the genre box often get bogged down in a sea of down-tuned guitar and maudlin lyrics. Still, when stirring moments like the jazzy “Bright Bulbs & Sharp Tools” (complete with swelling synths and keyboard arpeggios too fun not to act out) and the banjo-backed, head-turning “Amarillo Sleeps On My Pillow” peek through the cock-rock clouds, they almost make the digging needed to get to them worthwhile.