One From Many; 29:11
This Portland, Oregon based four piece, formerly known as FarCry, follows up their critically lauded debut The Alleged Album with a five song EP called 29:11. The vague title refers to a passage in the Holy Bible’s Book of Jeremiah and provides a kind of thematic jumping off point for the collection. Over the course of 29:11’s five songs, lyricist Andrew Supina contends with the psychic wreckage from broken relationships, particularly those between lovers and family. The album focuses musically on acoustic guitar and vocals but they are rendered with outstanding clarity and carry deceptive sonic weight. One From Many’s skills as arrangers are unquestionable – each of the five selections features sturdy songwriting with depth and entertainment for all. Despite the personal nature of the material, 29:11 is never inaccessible.
Anyone with a certain amount of age and experience can relate to “Like a Ghost”. While not all of us have experienced this narrative with a parent, adulthood rarely spares anyone the pain of abandonment and unresolved grief. The cathartic qualities driving the song’s drama never overshadow its musical merit. Supina and guitarist Josh McCormick are chiefly responsible for conjuring a moody ambiance that strengthens the lyrical content. “These Three Words” brims over with emotion, not nearly as dark as those heard in the opening number, but it’s nevertheless another decidedly adult number about facing our fears to love. Though it has an appealing commercial edge, it never panders fantasies of happily ever after, but Supina’s soaring vocals help it fly high, especially in the rousing chorus. The EP’s centerpiece, “Apology”, has another glittering vocal melody never undercut by the song’s intensity. Supina goes for his own throat here and renders a litany of regrets with such impassioned fervor that you can’t help but wonder if he collapsed in a chair after cutting his vocal.
The album’s last two songs, “Promise Forever” and “Afterglow”, slow things down even more than earlier efforts. The “brisker” of the two, “Promise Forever”, is a masterpiece of conversational lyrics elevated to something poetic. Supina’s nuanced vocal and the introduction of a contrasting female voice for harmony vocals brings a musicality to the song lacking before. “Afterglow” finishes the album in an early morning haze of woozy tempos and bleary-eyed reflection, but it’s impossible to not hear in the music a sort of settling, like a flower petal falling to earth. It isn’t hard to imagine that, perhaps subconsciously, Supina viewed this EP release as a final word on his own broken marriage and “Afterglow” is his clearest signal that he has finished pronouncing last rites over the corpse.
One From Many have solidified, with this release, a growing reputation as one of the most thoughtful outfits in indie music today. Material like this poises them mere inches from another level – every element works in sympathy with the other and, as the phrase goes, the sum is greater than its individual parts. 29:11 will impress the band’s fan base but, most importantly, will garner the band an assortment of new fans.
8 out of 10 stars.