Saturday, May 7, 2011

Following the Follow

Building Machines to Reach the Stars

Review by Sonicity Fitzroy

COLUMBIA, MO – Home Turf for The Follow

From the epicenter of Heartland USA, The Follow unleashes its fifth studio album, approximately five years after the release of “Up With The Sun.” The band achieved international recognition during this time, and its style continues to capture the soul of true alternative rockers. With lyrics that bridge the generations, The Follow’s new album “Building Machines to Reach the Stars” speaks to a world wrought with change, seeking direction and relevance in life and love. In their new album, the trio takes new strides pushing their alternative sounds to a new realm.

The band is the collective genius of three talented musicians: vocalist/guitarist Troy Rickertsen, vocalist/bassist Amy Rickertsen and drummer Mat Matlack, and together their sound assimilates the smooth grooves of contemporary artists like Snow Patrol and Cold Play with classic alternative grooves from the members’ eighties/nineties heroes, who reinvented rock during a time when new genres came to the forefront. The Follow’s balance of instrumentation and solidly crafted lyrics blend seamlessly together to create an intelligent beat that melds authenticity in lyrics with a driving propensity to inspire and engage listeners throughout the entire album. The Follow delivers on this album an experience that is both laced with surreal experimentation, and grounded in traditional roots of the new classic rock era. The Follow is no stranger to live performance, having their way amidst huge flocks of fans, an escalating audience base that began in the college circuit and has since enamored international listeners as well. Yet, the trio also speaks to the individual, so plug in your headsets and be prepared to elevate your senses as you attend to this conceptually themed album.

“From the Clouds Came a Lion” brings to mind the operatic Floyd sounds, as this tune clearly meshes the past to the present – and intersects the decades between. The weight of the layered instrumentation gives strength to the vocals, beckoning us to follow on through the album, drifting from song to song in U2 utopian ambient fashion. “Where It All Began pops with vigor, while letting the driving force of these talented vocalists and musicians play to their strengths. You can hear the deepening maturity in their performances, compared to their previous albums. “Unconditional” reiterates the album’s title, and opens with, “I could build machines to reach the stars. It’s nothing without you.” Who is this band, who can express love and life so elegantly? Their new polish is not trite, rather raw perfection showcasing their compositional and lyrical growth. “Where Have We Gone” is a social commentary that is probably the best evidence to their maturity. The track arrangements are pensive, powerful and well-engineered. Call it cyber-alternative, a sonic romance between the art and technology of instrumentation and the human spirit. That is well expressed in “For Always” and “Circuits” bringing to mind the familiar sounds of the neo-psychedelia eighties band The Church. “The Longing” might just become The Follow’s standing invitation: “You take me places I thought I could never go. You lead me where I always long to be – with you.”

The Follow – join them in this musical excursion of pulsating emotion and timeless wisdom.

Listen next week for selected cuts on Slow Bake on

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