Review : Far - At Night We Live
Bbct’s been 12 years since Sacremento’s Far released Water & Solutions, the last album before the band called it a day. Popular as their testosterone-fuelled post-hardcore was in the day, their influence has since increased vastly, so much so that their legend is now perhaps slightly disproportionate to their repertoire, their hooks and riffs and searching, soaring melodies outweighed by the many bands – including Thursday, Biffy Clyro and Jimmy Eat World – who cite them as an inspiration.
It’s taken two years since reforming for Far to emerge with this fifth album, but it’s not as if they’ve been silent in the interim. Frontman Jonah Matranga has recorded as Onelinedrawing, New End Original, Gratitude and under his own name, while the other three members have all written, recorded or produced music. It’s clearly had an effect. At Night We Live is the best and the most confident album of their two-part career. It is also, admittedly, more commercial-sounding, but there’s no shame in that if it’s done with integrity, dignity and passion.
It begins with the abrasive riffing of Deafening, with its almost Marilyn Manson-esque vocals and an ominous, jittery bassline, but the rest of the album is a wide and varied experience, full of subtleties and nuances that temper the pounding, roaring tunes. When I Could See flickers like a dying fire before a raging inferno of squalling guitars briefly bursts and then fades away, while Give Me a Reason, Are You Sure? and Burns are shimmering slices of tender yet bombastic rock. The Ghost That Kept on Haunting is a melancholy and sinister slowed-down finale, but it’s the title-track – written for Deftones bassist Chi Cheng, who remains in a minimally conscious state after a car accident in November 2008 – that encapsulates all the pain and glory, strength and sadness, of this album, and Far as a whole, and one which brilliantly validates – and will surely increase – the status and legend that their decade-plus absence helped build up.
A bonus track of their faintly ridiculous take on Ginuwine’s Pony is the icing on this very tasty welcome back cake....full text
RocksoundA few years ago we thought pigs would have more chance of flying than influential post- hardcore legends Far ever re-uniting, let alone releasing a brand new album. For once we’re happy to have been proved wrong. Right from the brooding, crunching chords of opener ‘Deafening’, from the off, ‘At Night We Live’, their first studio effort in 12 years, is a dark delight. ‘When I Could See’ is textbook Far: anthemic and driving yet with delicate semi acoustics and Jonah Matranga’s vocal sensibilities, while ‘Dear Enemy’ is a gnarly sonic jab in the ribs with prodding, hooky and discordant guitars. An outstanding return....full text
SputnikmusicWay back when in 1998, Far were an underground success with Water & Solutions, and while it hardly caught onto the masses, it was deemed rather successful and incredibly influential (cited by bands such as Thursday and Blink-182). Stylistically, they combined alterative-rock, with pop-hooks and post-hardcore riffs with an underpinning punk roots. In other words, Water & Solutions was an earful to try and unscramble without actually listening to Far. However, the second time around, their sound is a bit clearer with At Night We Live, but that shift hardly occurred overnight.
So exactly what has Far done since their break seemingly forever ago? Well, Jonah Matranga had the time of his life since Far disbanded twelve years ago, and this was apparent from the ecstatic, infectious smile he brought to every show. Since Far’s last album Water & Solutions, Matranga has toured solo, under his pseudonym Onelinedrawing and under his name Jonah Matranga, and also a short stint with two side projects New End Original and Gratitude. With each project, Jonah has become a better singer, and lyricist, especially during his solo career, as his ideas developed more than ever before with such freedom. And yet, their hiatus growth hardly stops with Matranga, as guitarist Shaun Lopez produced a slew of albums, most notably Deftones’ album Saturday Night Wrists that likely changed his overall songwriting approach. Bassist John Gutenberger and drummer Chris Robyn pursued other musical endeavors with the bands Two Sheds and Will Haven respectively. All four put aside their past riffs and created something many thought would never happen, an album together.
One of the first striking differences betweenAt Night We Live and Water & Solutions is how much heavier, and yet jovial At Night We Live plays. Perhaps due to the fact Water & Solutions was filled with a certain amount of angst and glumness around it. But now, At Night We Live is a gleaming beacon of hope, as told by the title track, “At Night We Live” and even the shimmer of the album cover. “At Night We Live,” a song written about a dream Matranga had about speaking with incapacitated bassist Chi Cheng of Deftones fame, throttles with slow, yet forceful emotion, as Matranga belts ‘daytime we’re dead, but at night we live.’ Elsewhere, “Deafening” and “Dear Enemy” contain the heaviest riffs Far have produced, and are hardly limited within the album (hell, the intro riff to “Pony,” a cover of R&B artist Ginuwine, blows their previous albums away)....full text
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