05 Apr, 2013

Farmington Hill – “Bridge to Nowhere”

People love Americana right now. Most of the bands putting out various strains of Americana throw back to some past era, barely changing the sounds that inspired them, updated only with higher production quality. Many now wear black suspenders. Many wear bowler hats. And really, most of it is starting to sound the same. It’s not offensively bad, but it’s just not that good.

Farmington Hill is a country rock band from Durango, Colorado, and their debut LP, Bridge to Nowhere is actually good. Comprised of members of two other Durango bands (Lawn Chair Kings [country/rock] and The Freeman Social [rock/punk]), Farmington Hill plays country rock–kick ass country rock. They don’t wear suspenders or bowler hats, and they don’t sound just like their influences. Farmington Hill - Bridge to NowhereInstead, they combine a various aspects of lots of different kinds of music: country, punk, and 80’s and 90’s college radio. If you like bands like the Sadies and Social Distortion, you’ll probably like Farmington Hill, but that doesn’t mean they sound like those bands. Elements from both are combined with elements of other things, to form a unique and cohesive something else. Although influences from multiple genres can be found all over this album, in the end they don’t sound like any of them–they just sound like Farmington Hill.

Some of the tracks (see “10 Miles”, “Pass Me the Bottle”, & “Pass Out”) are straightforward beer drinking (breath stinking) country rock jams, as suitable for a road trip from somewhere in the mountains to somewhere else in the mountains as they are for a drinking and smoking in other contexts. “Hit My Head” is more punk than many of the other tracks, whereas “Midnight Superstar” relies more on various elements of 90’s “alternative”. More of that sound is clear when the subject matter gets less cheery on tracks like, “Daddy, You Don’t Care Anymore” and “Lies to Change Your Mind”, but when things get heavy, they don’t get cheesy or tedious–these tracks are just as good for repeated listenings as the others. The great sound of the album is made all the more impressive by the studio it was recorded in, above a garage.

No song on this album is a throw away. Every track is strong. At times, Kelly Rogers’ steel guitar becomes the most prominent element, at other times Mike Mantineo’s drums. In general though, this band’s long history of playing together is clear. Regardless of who is singing or leading on any given track, Farmington Hill is a tight, kick ass country rock band. If you like that sort of thing, check out this album.

Review by Shaw Ketels.

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