The New Frontiers


Written by: PP on 11/06/2008 01:28:47

Judging by numerous reviews and comments to those reviews across the net, I seem to be alone with my thoughts about The New Frontiers and their debut album \"Mending\". People are going absolutely crazy about this mellow indie rock band, shooting comments like \"album of the year\", \"beats Copeland by a long shot\" in every direction. Me? I think \"Mending\" is good in every way but to call it the album of the year or surpassing the soothing ingeniousness of Copeland is, in my opinion, equivalent to surrendering yourself to a mass hype campaign, liking the record overly much simply because everyone else appears to do so as well.

As I mentioned before, we are dealing with soothing indie rock with a distinctly minimalistic approach to songwriting. There isn\'t much meat around the bones when it comes to instruments, and most of the album relies on vocalist Nathan Pettijohn\'s vocals carrying the songs forward. On paper that might not sound like the kind of combination you\'d want your next favorite band to use, but The New Frontiers have realized that setup nicely into a highly enjoyable form, mostly thanks to Nathan being able to convey emotion and sooth you so convincingly. Hear his relaxed, calm, but strong performance on \"Black Lungs\" or especially on \"Man Down\", in which his \"Meeeendiiing\" line sounds about as touching and emotional as it gets in quiet indie rock of this style. During moments like these it\'s easy to understand why people are praising this album to the heavens.

However, being the objective self that I always am, I have to pull the carpet from underneath these people at this point. There simply aren\'t enough \"wow, that is so full of feeling\" moments on the record. Sure, you can switch on to \"Mirrors\", \"Passing On\" or \"Walking On Stones\" and be amazed over Nathan\'s ability to produce such a calm and powerfully lush voice simultaneously. That isn\'t the album\'s biggest problem. The underlying reason why I\'m not getting into this album more than I am is because there\'s simply too little variation. Most of the album strolls along at mid pace, injecting a folksy influence here, throwing in some acoustic guitar there, without ever really deviating from that style. Although Nathan can carry the album up to a certain point, he most definitely can\'t alone bring it to be the album of the year.

That being said, all of the songs are close to being a wet dream for any indie rock fan, or anyone who has ever heard a softer Copeland song before. Think the slow version of their \"You Love To Sing\" and multiply that by 11 and you\'ve got \"Mending\", an album which features a stunningly beautiful vocal performance fitted over a simplistic indie rock musical landscape. Pretty damn good overall, but still far from being on my top 10 list for 2008.

Download: Man Down, Mirrors, Passing On
For the fans of: Copeland
Listen: Myspace

Release date 29.04.2008
The Militia Group

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