Year of the Album — #050
The Fair Weathered – “Last Year” (2011, Independent)
Columbus, Ohio’s The Fair Weathered sound like seasoned pop-punk touring veterans even though, for the most part, they aren’t even old enough to drink in the clubs they play in. But don’t let that fool you; these guys can rock, and the roster of touring bands they’ve successfully opened for speaks to their work ethic. And if there’s any justice, they’ll earn a touring reputation beyond the confines of Ohio State university … this is the kind of band you want to see live, because there’s a good portion of a live band’s energetic show which simply cannot find its way onto a studio track.
And really, when you get down to it, that’s the one thing holding Last Year back. Even if it seems like a small thing to quibble about, the energy which would make their live shows distinct simply doesn’t come through in the recordings. These are very competently recorded songs, and the band’s got the chops to make the songs sound good in small doses. But played as a whole, the album showcases ten songs which blend in a little too well with each other on repeated listens.
That said, this is really a solid effort for a band recording independently. The band has a clear concept of what they want to sound like, and their recordings are crisp and clear, which explains the college radio play the band has garnered in the region. And taken individually, songs like “Like Treason” and “Ohio Weather” show the band at its best, ready to take on the midwest-US punk scene like few other young bands would have the balls to do. “Glass Cities,” meanwhile, which closes out the album, stands out from the rest of the songs as something distinctly single-worthy — if all the post-“Hey There Delilah” songs by Plain White Ts can be hits, why not this one? It seems to be a no-brainer, if people can focus on the details within the lyrics which focus on what must have been a painful hospital experience. The first-person lyrics definitely make the song the most openly relatable of the bunch.
The Fair Weathered is a band worth keeping an eye on — if they can stay together through another album or two, they could become seasoned veterans with the chops to be legitimate national contenders. And that’s what I love to hear from independents anywhere, let alone right in my backyard.