The Fold - Dear Future, Come Get Me
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: Oct. 6, 2009
On their first album sans label, Chicago's The Fold have written a rather ordinary, ho-hum rock album with nods to pop/punk and splashes of laptop pop. With a batch of surging rockers and a few spacey ballads, Dear Future Come Get Me, is a decidedly underwhelming effort from a band that three albums in still can't hit their stride. Album opener "File Under: Ground (Take Me In," features sweetly hypnotic vocals from vocalist Daniel Castady, an urgent chorus and driving guitars. As an album opener, it's damn near perfect. The song's subject, about being rescued and seeking solace, whether from the divine or a lover, is universal, relatable and comforting. On follow-up track "Hold On," Castady once again impresses with his vocal command and emotive pleas, with a flourish of "ba ba ba"s in the background. The angular and craggy "Red Wine," sounds somewhat reminiscent of Sherwood, with its sunny chorus and hurried cadence, but doesn't do much to bolster the album's status as noteworthy. Title track "Dear Future," features electronic beats and some gorgeous singing to make for one of the band's finer moments. The spiritual track tackles the notion of completely surrendering to the powers that be.
While the band may love the urgent pace of rock, Castady and his capable bandmates truly shine on ballads. The album's best example of that is the stunning "Sink or Swim," which build slowly and hints at a crescendo from the very first seconds. Aided by a lush chorus, a slew of violins and an envelope of ethereal layers, "Sink or Swim" is a truly gorgeous song with no errors and solid musicianship. Similarly, one of the disc's high-water marks is the soaring "Head Held High," an amalgam of electronic beats, loops, chiming guitars and stirring strings. There are few times in the band's brief history that Castady has ever sounded so fatigued, weathered and beaten. A moving tribute to the punches all of us take when battling the ins and outs of life, "Head Held High," is a reminder of the inherent potential the Chicago quartet possesses. The album's other ballad is the nocturnal and reflective, "These Are My Dreams," which brings together electronic beats, poignant verses and vocals that drip with sincerity. Tender, honest and fully embraceable "These Are My Dreams," is undoubtedly one of the band's finer moments.
And yet for all their charming moments in balladry, the quartet is pretty hit or miss when it comes to rocking out. "Midnight," features urgent and pleading verses, a touch of falsetto and a bursting rhythm section, but the entire effort feels too much like filler. Similarly, "Seventy Five Outgoing Calls," starts off promising but moves into formulaic territory in the middle and comes across as nothing more than nondescript pop/punk. The album's best rock song is "I Know Where I'm Going," a self-effacing cut that drips with proficiency, control and harmonic genius. Fueled by a toe-tapping beat and a radio-ready chorus, this is definitely a song that's relatable, sincere and contagious. The disc ends with lead single "Neverender," a blazing cut that features inspired guitarwork but comes across as far too middle of the road.
For all its high points, Dear Future Come Get Me feels a few years too late. That is to say this is probably an album that would have been a commercial smash in the early part of this decade. That being said, it's difficult to see the effort being a tremendous commercial success in the current musical climate. While the disc is arguably Castady's finest vocal effort, the lack of consistency and swagger drags the entire effort down. Being that the band is going at it alone makes the future decidedly leery for the Windy City crew. Not too long ago, The Fold were one of the scene's more promising bands and with an armful of talent there's a chance it still can happen. Here's hoping.
loved this band since before they signed to tooth and nail. Interesting review, i'll look forward to ordering it soon. I had a feeling some of the electronic stuff from the last E.P. would creep into this album a little bit. Hopefully they can prove that not all bands need a label anymore...
Yeah. I felt like being nice. The ballads are solid and Castady's vocals are great. There are maybe like two or three good rock songs, and the rest is just blah. But I"m always pretty generous. If you notice I have never given an album a grade lower than 60. I'm not here to completely tear apart an artist's vision, regardless of how horrendous it might be.
Haven't listened to their new album yet, but I've always been a fan of The Fold since their first T&N release This Too Shall Pass. Even though the musicianship can be a little generic and formulaic, they have a knack for conspiring good melodies, and aspire great meanings in their tracks.
This is a good review, and I do agree with your point about their ability to write a great ballad. My favorite ballad of theirs has to be "Faster Still" off of Secrets Keep You Sick. If you love their ballads, I would definitely check out their Stargazer EP if you haven't yet. No rocking tunes, just four primarily electronic ballads.
Didn't realize you were reviewing this. Nicely put, although I don't completely agree. I think this is on its way to becoming my favorite Fold album. It's the closest they've come to realizing their full potential.