A lot has happened in the past four years. The music industry, once a Goliath among men, has taken a huge hit. Sales are down and pirating is up. Seasoned bands are hanging up their guitars for good in record numbers, years before their potential has been reached. Record labels are folding, practically becoming obsolete. Fads have come and gone. Due to increased usage, auto-tune has become a standard in many styles such as rap and pop rock. In fact, it would be easy to say that it no longer takes talent to become famous as some groups have shown.
Yet, music has become more accessible for fans. The advent of more technologically advanced phones, and new digital music outlets have led to music being easier to listen to than ever before. The field has been leveled for bands just starting out, as social media platforms have allowed fans and musicians to communicate on a personal level. With this has come oversaturation. More than ever before, it is essential for groups to be unique and stand out. To be more than just a MySpace sensation, or in the Top 10 of some obscure web site's favorites list bands must find a way to stay relevant.
As a generally non-touring band, it might be easy to forget about Fair. While their debut was beyond solid, they disappeared for many amidst all of the turmoil. The Best Worst-Case Scenario was enjoyable for a while, and then listeners moved on. Four years later, they return with their best effort yet, a mature outing, nothing less than you would expect from this talented group of musicians. This time around, it would be a mistake to forget about Fair and Disappearing World. In fact, it might be impossible.
From the very first note of the title track, listeners will be reminded of why they fell in love with Fair to begin with. Simply put, the band's music is timeless. Disappearing World finds Aaron Sprinkle's soft, but powerful voice introducing the album over a pulsating instrumental line. The song quickly develops into a pop-laden gem and establishes the central theme of redemption found throughout the album. Dynamically, "Disappearing World" is all over the place. Starting out slowly, it builds and builds until its subsequent release in the second verse. As the first track, it is an instant classic and does an excellent job of setting up the rest of the album.
Lyrically, Sprinkle is honest with his flaws before God and in his relationships with others. He leaves himself vulnerable, which makes this album so easy to relate to in any situation. This can be seen in the track "Doubtful," "If I'm happy, there's a good chance I'm lying through my teeth. Cause without you, it's doubtful. And it would take a miracle I know, to set this straight, to give back the hours that I stole. Cause without you it's doubtful."
While not outward in their faith, the songs on Disappearing World are positive and hopeful. Dealing mostly with relationships, the lyrics on this album are simpler than before which only makes the band more accessible. Musically, Fair branches out, experimenting with different sounds, tempos and styles. As a whole, Disappearing World belongs in another age. With their timeless charm and simple pop structure, songs such as "Great Divide" and "The Escape Artist" are a window back in time. Back to when auto tune, neon glasses and guy liner were not only unimportant, but yet to be widely adopted; probably not even invented. When groups made music first and worried about their image later.
Fair makes a bold statement with their newest album. Disappearing World is about the music. It's about soft piano lines, soaring choruses and bold rhythms. Much like their album's namesake, Fair was caught in the ever-shrinking world of the music industry after the release of their debut album. Not this time around.- Review date: 2/8/10, written by John "Flip" Choquette of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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