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Farpoint: Paint the Dark

Now in existence for over 15 years, South Carolina's Farpoint are starting to amass quite the solid back catalog of studio releases, their latest titled Paint the Dark on 10T Records. The band label themselves as 'folky art rock with a progressive edge' and, quite frankly, I couldn't have said it better myself. This is not your standard symphonic prog-rock, or daring jazz-fusion, nor complex & heavy progressive metal, but catchy, loose, melodic rock music with a healthy dollop of folk, Celtic, new age, and classical tendencies. Their music might not bowl you over with that 'wow' factor from the outset, but with plenty of richness and hidden nuances that crawl into your head upon repeated listening, Farpoint are so unique and incorporate so much into their music, that it's hard not to take an instant liking to what they have to offer.

Opener "Up to You" kicks things off in fine fashion, starting as an almost Steve Morse Band styled hard rocker, before lush acoustic tones and the enchanting vocals of Dean Hallal & Abby Thompson take things into much folkier territory. The harder rocking arrangements with a touch of prog come back into play, and with the addition of some instantly memorable vocal melodies, makes this a really strong way to start off Paint the Dark. "Part of Me" mixes folk with some new age & jazz fusion elements, Thompson's enchanting vocal floating over the top of Frank Tyson's muscular bass lines and layers of textures courtesy of guitarist Kevin Jarvis. The near 8-minute "Gone" settles into an even more laid back groove, as folk, classical, and country collide for a relaxing listen, before giving way to the memorable pop hooks of "Half a World Away". The soaring ballad "Who You Are" again highlights the strong vocals of Thompson as well as her gorgeous piano, while "Stand" sees the first real appearance of pure progressive rock on the album. This one features some crunchy riffs, symphonic keyboards, intricate rhythms, and great vocal interplay between Hallal & Thompson. The extended middle section is also home to some nice guitar & keyboard passages from Jarvis. "Vision Quest" is another prog opus, this one clocking in at just over 12-minutes, with more than a few hints at Yes, Kansas, and Jethro Tull, and featuring some stunning Hammond organ, acoustic & lead guitar. It's easily the highlight of the CD. More folk/new age can be heard on the pretty "One More Sunset", while the upbeat & quirky "Power" closes things out in brief, yet proggy fashion.

While Paint the Dark might not be as immediately engaging as other releases that fall under the 'prog' umbrella here in 2014, it's a wholly satisfying platter of rich tones, gentle melodies, alluring emotion, and the occasional burst of musical fire. Definitely a slow grower, but one that will warm your heart over repeated listens. Chalk up another winner for Farpoint.

Track Listing
1) Up to You
2) Part of Me
3) Gone
4) Half a World Away
5) Who You Are
6) Stand
7) Vision Quest
8) One More Sunset
9) Power

Added: August 1st 2014
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3674
Language: english

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Farpoint: Paint the Dark
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-07-31 18:01:31
My Score:

Prog comes in many forms and varying intensities, with South Carolina's Farpoint landing at the less exuberant or challenging end of the spectrum. Rather than a blur of notes, or barrage of time changes, Paint The Dark, the band's sixth studio album, is a far moodier collection of atmosphere over bombast and poise over flash. For some it may be a touch gentle in places (truth be told I almost count myself in that number), yet still there's so much here to admire and so much to catch the ear. Vocalists Dean Hallal and Abby Thompson for example continually offer ever changing vocal perspectives, altering the focus of the songs as they do so, while the keyboards, which drive much of what occurs, from Kevin Jarvis (he also adds guitar in a band where no one does anything as simple as provide one instrument) range from expansive washes of atmosphere through stabs of an almost percussive quality, to upfront scene setting. Some themes are folk in genesis, others almost art-rock (although never an angular, jagged fashion), yet even when Jarvis does stomp on the distortion pedal, he does so with a lightness of touch and extremely contained aggression. It is a trait across the likes of "Stand", or "Power" where it's the patience and restraint which really marks out what Farpoint set out to do. "One More Sunset" illustrating just how effective this quartet can be when completely resisting the temptation to play to Prog stereotypes, instead allowing the work of guest flautist Jennifer Meeks Weich to gently take the song by the hand and lead it across meandering themes and almost, but not quite, 60s Pop-Folk-Rock hooks.

Often Prog reviewers can be found extolling the virtues of albums which ask the listener to take up challenges, meet new musical ideas head on, or check their reservations at the door. Farpoint couldn't be further from that point if their lives depended on it. In fact on those terms what this band specialise in might get lost in the ether as it floats by. Instead this is Prog for the quiet moments, for the times when introspection is sought, or when the sun flits through the trees as the breeze makes the light dance on the ground. In those circumstances you too will want to immerse yourself in this album and Paint The Dark.

Farpoint: Paint the Dark
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-07-18 23:08:24
My Score:

Farpoint hail from South Carolina and have recently released their sixth studio album Paint The Dark. The band includes Dean Hallal (lead and backing vocals), Kevin Jarvis (acoustic, electric and classical guitars, keyboards, mandolin, vocals), Abby Thompson (lead and backing vocals), Frank Tyson (bass, baritone, electric and slide guitar, 8 string bass, vocals) and Rick Walker (drums and percussion). Guesting on the album are Christi Hunter Brownlow (violin) and Jennifer Meeks Weich (flute).

In a world that often stresses the negative side of life it is refreshing to hear a band with such a positive outlook. Yes, the lyrics are Christian based at times but the band never hits you in the face with their religious views. If you like uplifting music Farpoint is the band for you.

The good vibes start with the album opening "Up To You", a straight forward melodic rock song with a great blending of acoustic and electric guitars. Excellent male and female vocals round out the package. There is even a country flavour seeping through the edges. "Part of Me" features more tasty acoustic and electric guitar, nice bass fills and a decided folk vibe. With "Gone" the band continues with its uplifting message. Gentle acoustic guitar breaks into a feel good groove with warm violin and pleasant lead vocals. Near song's end some Floydy guitar work ensues with violin adding texture to the band's melodic progressive sound. The poppy "Half A World Away" is another melodic delight but my favourite song has to be the twelve minute "Vision Quest". It begins with synths and clean guitar giving it a Floyd vibe. Lush violin, spacey synths, delicate guitar fills, tasty flute lines and lovely layers of organ give this one a symphonic edge. The blending of tasty acoustic strumming and soaring electric leads is quite stunning.

The more I listen to Paint the Dark the more its intricacies are revealed. It is often a mellow album which makes the heavier parts really stand out. If you like mellower progressive rock with superbly crafted melodies and an overall addictive quality that is hard to shake, Paint the Dark should fit the bill quite nicely. A well-earned 4 stars.

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