Foreign Born – Person to PersonPosted: 30/05/2009
Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste once called LA-based Foreign Born his favourite new band. That’s good right? If Grizzly Bearare good, the music they consume must also be pretty good? Alas, it’s been two long years since Foreign Born’s last album, so the ‘new’ tag surely no longer applies. Plus, band recommendations are always quite an unpredictable element with which to base musical assumptions. So read this instead.
Person to Person is their new album. Following the 2007 début, On The Wing Now, this album finds Foreign Born continuing to pursue the anthemic echelons they strived to accomplish on their first album, and with heartening results.
‘Blood Oranges’ is the first track, and the timbre commences with brilliantly optimistic aplomb. All twangly guitars and uplifting breaks. Staccato drum fills shaking and jolting the track when vocalist Matt Popieluch begins, his howling backed by haunting vocals. It’s a blinding opener, instilling a sense that this will be a good record. This is rather disappointingly sullied with the following track, ‘That Old Sun’. This one’s a tad irksome. It begins with a guitar lick that is at first tolerable, but soon becomes tiresome and finally darn unpleasant. Sadly, this little nugget of annoyance persists throughout much of the track, which never really seems to go anywhere.
Thankfully, much of what follows on Person to Personhas generous smatterings of good, solid rock. ‘Vacationing People’, the first single from the album, demonstrates the finer compositional structures present throughout the album, seemingly tapering, before launching into an uplifting chorus. The results of which are jubilant and anthemic, slow yet ultimately rewarding. Similarly, following track, ‘Winter Games’, rolls along with a confident demeanour, eventually making way for a melodious and stirring chorus. Later track, ‘It Grew On You’ follows a similar formula, harnessing thumping beats and emotive harmonies. It’s a successful template, combining a swaggering beat – not dissimilar to Kasabian, yet not quite as ostentatious – with rousing harmonies.
However, it’s not all swagger and strut. ‘Early Warnings’, a Paul Simon/Graceland-esque ditty, owes much to Ariel Rechtshaid’s superb bass lines. Popieluch again mewls, much like Richard Ashcroft, occasionally breaking to allow the band to utilise the exuberant harmonies that make this album positively engaging. It’s steady in its attack, as is the next track, ‘Can’t Keep Time’. The pace of this one juxtaposed with sweeping synthsand graceful backing vocals.
The final two tracks on the album, ‘See us Home’and ‘Wait in this Chair’ are more sombre affairs and, owing to their pace and length, pass by relatively unnoticed. Alas, the subtle and swaying nature establishes this band’s ability to create mellow tracks. While these two tracks lack the exultant chorus present in the other songs, they act as quite a nice wind down.
There are a couple of tracks that debit the luster off of an otherwise brilliant album. Several songs demonstrate an ability to build on something truly enjoyable and emotive. When this band aims for the lofty highs, they do so with alluring gusto – and it’s great.