Luke Foley of Farewell Flight has been writing the sorts of indie rock songs that instantly transport the listener to a particular emotional experience since 2005 and bringing them to the public through incessant DIY touring. With the current iteration of the band’s rotating cast of characters, including bassist Brian Miller of The Evan Anthem and drummer Caleb Allensworth of The Mint, he managed to crowd-fund recording a seven-track EP in their new hometown of Nashville. Originally from Harrisburg, the band decided to move after a couple years signed to Relient K’s resurrected Mono vs. Stereo imprint, with whom they recorded 2008′s Sound. Color. Motion. and released 2011′s Out For Blood. The two albums mostly contained the same songs, with two additions on the latter, an approach made necessary by the fact that the label had gone on hiatus just prior to the release of the former, providing no support for the release. Understandably, that was not particularly successful, and they have since been dropped from the label. Going the independent route has always seemed to be Farewell Flight’s instinct, however, and their successful use of Kickstarter this time around fits the narrative of loyal long-term fan support for the new start well. While the supporters of that campaign were emailed a digital copy of I Was A Ghost some time ago, the official release is tomorrow.
Musically, the introduction to EP opener “Scarecrow” recalls early lo-fi EPs Signals, Northern, and Lost at Sea, before building to a more unhinged bar-rock sound reminiscent of J. Roddy Walston & the Business. The way the gorgeous harmonies on “Breaking My Heart” snake around the interlocking synth and guitar riffs is also quintessential Farewell Flight, reassuring the long-term fans that lineup changes and shifting locations have not changed their sound. It is easy to see how the band has grown over the past few years, though, with some of the phrasing, melodies, and even the frequent anthemic “woah-woahs” making it clear that this is a band that spent substantial time with crossover pop-punk hook-makers like Relient K and House of Heroes. “Teenager” and “Heyo” could almost fit on the former’s major label records, while “Everything Changed” seems to distill the sounds of the latter’s The End Is Not The End album into one song. The sounds of their new hometown make effective cameos as well, particularly in the instrumentation of lead single “The Places We’ll Go” and the vocal stylings of the title track. Their time in the studio recording with producer Steve Wilson is documented in this short documentary by Jason Bartch:
Luke Foley’s lyrics have always been the focal point of Farewell Flight, however, and the themes on this outing are sure to resonate with the flock of aspirational twenty-somethings driving so much of pop culture at the moment. From directly addressing his “quarter-life crisis” on “Breaking My Heart” to the difficulty of communicating emotion in this digital age conveyed by “Heyo”‘s acknowledgement of how “words don’t come out right”, it seems every song on I Was A Ghost is one with which much of that demographic can identify. As he wrestles with faith, drink, and relationships, Foley’s confessional approach ends up placing him as the outlaw Waylon Jennings to Christian music’s mainstream country, a position shared with singer-songwriter Derek Webb, whose NoiseTrade outlet helped release Farewell Flight’s last album. In a generation that increasingly questions simplistic approaches to these issues, this is a band firmly in line with the zeitgeist, and perhaps the move to Music City will help the industry finally recognize that fact.
By Dave Fox | Philadelphia Ambassador | @philosofoxthedj | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC