Foreign Born - On the Wing Now
Record Label: Dim Mak Records
Release Date: August 21, 2007
I've got a story to tell: once upon a time I reviewed an album submitted by a very talented nomadic musician by the name of Reed KD. Now, The Ashes Bloom was a very enjoyable addition to my collection and, accordingly, received a quality rating (I believe it was somewhere in the vicinity of 84%, but I digress). However, despite being a good album, it never achieved the plateau of greatness in my eye until I played it in the right context. The album, a compilation of folk rock tracks usually in the material vein of love, lust, and life on the road, was not fully understood until I stumbled upon it, months since the last play, while on a one-man road trip: just myself, my Cavalier, a couple packs of Pall Mall Light, and a copy of Sartre's classic play No Exit. It was in this position that I fully understood and could thus fully appreciate the quality of Reed KD's work both as a music listener and a literary critic.
Los Angeles group Foreign Born's release On the Wing Now is very similar to the aforementioned release in that it can likely benefit from circumstance (such as mood, state of thought, etc.). I don't feel comfortable assigning a genre to the type of music that Foreign Born compose, so I'll bypass the generalization. But, whatever it is, On the Wing Now sure doesn't leave much to be desired as far as musical theatrics go. Now, I'm not talking about synth-enhanced techno explosions or over-the-top displays of production. What you get is purely instrumentally-produced showmanship within the songs: the buildups, the fade-outs, and the tactical usage of group vocals.
Having sat on the album since first receiving it from this site some seven or eight months ago, I must admit: it's not my usual cup of tea. I've found it hard to get a real solid read on the album. It seemed that every song builds up a great deal of potential... and then never lives up to its own potential. I liken this quality to the album Outside We Are Fine by YouInSeries, where each song is missing something: a hook, an emphasized chorus, something, anything.
Without a doubt, the best aspect of this album is the musicianship. It's immediately obvious that the members know their way around an instrument. But, sadly enough, it doesn't seem that even half of the energy put into instrumentals was applied to vocals or, especially, lyrics. I found the tracks to be very lazy, lyrically, which tends to be a major problem when I listen to an album.
Now, I certainly recognize what an average and, let's face it, less than helpful review this is if used in debating whether one should dish out the coins for the album and, for that, I am somewhat sorry. Actually, I'm not sorry but, I assure you, I'm not proud of the letdown. If I were to grade this album, let's just say I'd give it an A... for effort.