The rock music landscape is littered with pre-fabricated poseurs putting on their silliest clothes and making their stupidest faces with a complete lack of genuine emotion. Imagine a band without gimmicks, made up of regular people writing and performing honest music. Sound crazy?
Then you haven't heard Far-Less.
Determined to shake up the unimaginative pseudo-aesthetics of their indie and pop peers, Far-Less have crafted a sophomore album that single-handedly destroys the notion of the "sophomore slump" in one swift move. Produced by Mike Green (Paramore, The Matches), "A Toast to Bad Taste" (out October 23 on Tooth & Nail Records) boasts a complex sense of confidence, like a deftly inspired blend of Muse, Dredg, Brand New and the most ethereal of shoe-gazer pop, with some Foo Fighters thrown in for good measure.
Despite a handful of setbacks, a remote locale, and the increasing mediocrity of the indie rock scene, Far-Less has triumphed against the odds with "A Toast for Bad Taste," and the rock world is hereby put on notice.
Sounding unashamedly modern while retaining a foot in the 90s heyday of Smashing Pumpkins and Soundgarden, Far-Less have fully come into their own from their humble Virginia beginnings.
"Virginia has everything to do with who I am as a musician and a person," Far-Less singer Brandon Welch says thoughtfully. "Lots of quiet time with beautiful scenery. You tend to make lifelong friends in a place like this, which is awesome. Music seemed to be my only way to get out of here. As long as I can remember, I wanted to play music."
And beyond that, Welch and his band mates - Jordan Powers (guitar/vocals), Mark Karsten (guitar), Joseph Powers (bass), Elizabeth Pina (keyboards), and Todd Turner (drums) - set out to make music that is relevant, honest and powerful. And they have succeeded. "The best part about music is when it makes you feel something, when it moves you," says Welch.
It was with that in mind that Welch wrote the first song for the new Far-Less album, a track called "So Glad," which gave him the idea for the record's title, "A Toast to Bad Taste." "It's an album about the things that bring us down. The things in our society that hold us back and the people in our lives that show no respect or love for us, or anyone. It's the most personal piece of art I have ever been involved with," he explains.
"A few people have told me this record brought them to tears, which is the most beautiful thing anyone could say to me, because there were a lot of tears involved in the writing of this album. My best friend left the band. My girl left me. It might seem trivial, but those things happened so close together, right as we started writing for this album."
Strangely, "So Glad" wasn't intended to be on the album at first. It was a song Welch wrote to make himself feel better, nothing more, nothing less. The band loved the song and insisted they make use of it. As they continued writing, it served as a roadmap for all of the dynamic places where the album would end up. Like Elvis Costello or The Clash, Far-Less can write a straight-forward radio jam ("It's Not Me, It's You") without sounding corny, and immediately about face and offer up something layered and intricately pleasing. "Surprise Funeral" will go down as one of the best songs this year from one of the year's best albums.
Far-Less is on a mission to become your favorite band, but on their own terms, and their terms alone. "I would hope that at the end of our career people would say that we made music that moved them," Welch says, adding: "And that we made music that jammed." Only two albums in, it's safe to stake both claims already.
Far-Less, ladies and gentlemen, your new favorite band.