Ever wonder what indie folk-country sounds like? First off, yes, it does exist, and if your curiosity has been piqued, a brand new band out of the Twin Cities named Fathom Lane has released a pretty cool debut album, Down By Half. It was released earlier this month and it has quickly become my personal most listened to album. Reminiscent of John Denver, Simon and Garfunkel, and a recent band Radical Face, the band hovers between many different genres while at the same time pioneering their own. Filled with dark lyrics and acoustic sound, the band themselves describe their music as “Songs about love and loss-but mostly the loss part.” When I listen to the album it seems contemplative as the pace is slow and the instrumentals are fairly minimal. This goes along well with what they are trying to convey, but it can drag at times. Though, there are still tracks that will take you by surprise by contrasting the acoustic with gritty electric guitar. The album is good for those days you just want to kick back and relax, or when the night is winding down.
Ok, now for the tracks you should keep an eye out for. The opening track, “Hope You Never,” does a great job of setting the tone for the album. The first :30 is just muted guitar and semi whispered vocals, but then opens up into a sweet lap steel guitar solo, then an even cooler guitar solo. Now lap steel may be stigmatized as being from old country/western back when the two were different, but these guys fit it into the style and make it their own. “Sweet September” really shows their country side. The harmony between the two vocalists reminds me of a ‘90s country love song, and the addition of more lap steel just seals the deal. My favorite track of the album has to be “Ghost of Me.” It is a dark song but it is the only time in the album they just bust out the power chords, creating a stark contrast with the rest of the album. The volume of the guitar emphasizes that this is supposed to be the high point on the album, and it is a powerful one. I am very interested in where this band will go in the future, but for the time being I will sit back and enjoy this cool bit of music.