Style: Symphonic Progressive Rock
Rating: 4½ / 5
Summary: Each Farpoint CD improves on its predecessor in quantum leaps – and this one is a must-hear
You heard it here first: Farpoint no longer plays country-oriented folk prog. This is pure progressive rock in every sense of the word, with all the melody, musical complexity and high-order musicianship entailed in that genre. More than that – it is also a wonderfully rewarding listen.
In our review of Grace we made it clear that it was a fine body of work – but building on the best elements in Grace Farpoint has produced a solid, cohesive body of work that proudly stands up to that most strenuous of tests – multiple replays. And there are several reasons you’ll have no trouble playing it again and again: The coordinated flow from mellow to full-on rock and back again. The shifts from keys to bass to acoustic guitar to excellent lead guitar to rich multi-part vocal choruses. The flute and cello duet played over prominent bass. The intricate lead, bass and acoustic guitar interplays. The effective keyboards that never impose themselves but always provide the atmosphere that imbues each track with the deep sincerity that is a key ingredient to Farpoint’s music.
There isn’t a dull moment on this CD – it will keep your interest from the moody, spacey keys and samples in the first bars of “Lux Universum Part I”, through the truly excellent 10-minute mini epic, all the way to the end when the CD fades out in “Lux Universum Part II” with the same moody, spacey keys and samples. Clark Boone’s vocals are still delivered in his gravely, ballsy style, but it is so much more refined on this album that they ought to find wide appeal. Dana Oxenberg’s singing is simply wonderful, and a favorite moment is the duet in “Crying In The Rain” which highlights the contrasts in their styles – the gruff and the elegant, the feminine and the masculine, the Yin and the Yang.
The instrumentation is rich and layered and it flows from soft dual-instrument sections through to huge walls of sound with bass guitar often taking an interesting lead role and Mike Avins’s guitars providing excellent focus.
The 10 minute mini-epic “Sojourn” is a study in symphonic rock. It starts with spacey tones overlaid with a simple, elegant acoustic guitar piece, then the full rock set is slowly introduced, along with the vocals. The sound builds up in the chorus, where female vocals provide a rich backdrop to the demanding male vocal line. There’s a dramatic tempo shift, into a choral female vocals section, ethereal and pretty, with a twelve-string guitar providing a light but consistent backing – as it does for most of the song, There’s a simple passage with flute and (sampled) cello over bass that provides classical-sounding credibility, and the piece ends in a wonderful wall of sound that will leave you breathless.
Besides one or two spots where Oxenberg’s vocals are a bit prominent in the mix, the quality of production and mixing are particularly good – which is important in those songs that build up to full, multi-layered pieces, where the clarity is such that you still feel you could reach into the speakers and pick out individual notes.
The strengths of From Dreaming To Dreaming lie in its songwriting, its structures and its textures, and above all, Farpoint takes their music seriously and you can feel the earnest faith they bring to each song and its subject matter. Farpoint has arrived – this is progressive rock, and this is what we love about our chosen genre of music.