Farewood – Under Burning Sun

It’s often difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when appreciation for a band turns into something felt on a deeper, more spiritual level. It was late April 2012 when I was tasked with filming as many bands as possible at the Meriden Daffodil Festival for a local music television show I was producing at the time called Live & Local. The premise for this two-part episode would be to capture as many bands as we could, choose the best song from each set and weave them all into roughly 3-5 minute snippets that would showcase a wide array of CT talent. It was a long, warm weekend and as I sat on the grass, camera in hand, with the sun burning down on my eventually sun-burnt face, Farewood took the stage for what I was hoping would be something usable. I had been a fan of Farewood since my introduction to them in the early 2000s and had seen them multiple times prior to that day in various darkened rooms. Their phenomenal Wings of Gold album was on the cusp of being officially released and their set promised a selection of new material that transcended anything they had written prior. Even still, I could never have expected their sound – so primal and mysterious on so many levels – to mesh with the coddling warmth of Spring the way it did that day. It hit me then that no matter the setting this was a band that could transcend in ways that so few others could. I’ve seen literally thousands upon thousands of musical acts in various live settings, but I’ll always remember the day that I truly met Farewood and their music for the first time.

With the lone exception of their stripped-down Wilderness EP that followed Wings of Gold by roughly 18 months, Farewood operates on six year cycles. Their 1994 debut was followed by albums in 2000, 2006, and 2012. I should have known that day kneeling on the warm earth in front of that stage that the CD I would wear out over the summer would be the last full-length album for awhile. Yet I allowed the promises and teasing of new music and new recordings to lull me into a sense of anticipation that I would carry around in earnest for the last couple years like it was some sort of dirty secret I was keeping from those who knew me best. Finally our patience and diligence has been rewarded with what might be Farewood’s magnum opus, Under Burning Sun.

Once again, like some sort of beautiful, mythical creature the proverbial phoenix of the Connecticut music scene has arisen from its own ashes to bare their collective musical soul in the form of yet another highly personal and deeply emotive album. The heart and soul of Farewood, husband and wife songwriting duo, Lou and Leah Lorenzo, have their reasons for such long delays between records. Starting and raising a family, plus all the ups and downs that go along with it, will do a lot to redirect creative energies. This is also a meticulous outfit when it comes to writing and recording new music. Every artist feels a personal connection to their art, but for Farewood there were multiple moments when the band contemplated the question, “…maybe we should keep this one for us”, as Leah Lorenzo said via email when discussing the new album. The thought of pouring six years of your life into a project to simply keep it tucked away, out of sight from prying ears, should tell you how many tiny shards of soul are woven into each song. With this in mind, the aura of this album and the Farewood ‘sound’ in general becomes even more powerful. From Leah Lorenzo’s soaring vocals to Lou Lorenzo’s driving, indelible riffs this album is an intoxicating mix of ethereal atmosphere and post-rock aesthetics, draped in a shroud of intrinsic emotions. Add to it how much of themselves exist in sonic form and Farewood have created something beyond simple indie or alt rock labels. It’s an album that commands attention the way a loved one would and multiple listens does not dull this overpowering sense that there’s something truly special happening here.

Will we have to wait another six years for the next Farewood album? Will there even be another one? When asked via email what the future holds, Leah Lorenzo’s response included the ominous line, “This might just be the last album for Farewood”. With that in mind we should be overly thankful that Farewood did not decide to keep this album to themselves. If this is indeed the last recorded output for this long-running (and highly underappreciated) act, their closing chapter could be their finest.

Under Burning Sun can be experienced and purchased on the Farewood Bandcamp page.

 

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