Fairmont | Hell Is Other People

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Rock: 90's Rock Rock: Punk Moods: Mood: Fun
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Hell Is Other People

by Fairmont

Fairmont makes sincere music, they aren't cool and your friends will call you a loser if you listen to them. They don't scream or use distortion much and have been described as aweful by scensters, emo kids, and ex band members. Their story is long and
Genre: Rock: 90's Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. an introduction
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0:48 album only
2. the monster you've become
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4:23 album only
3. your pictures on my dart board
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2:59 album only
4. aces & eights
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3:45 album only
5. monday
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2:35 album only
6. your fan from far away
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3:54 album only
7. twenty/twenty (hindsight is...)
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2:46 album only
8. waiting for you
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3:07 album only
9. hypochondriac
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3:41 album only
10. don't give up the ship
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3:01 album only
11. 4th of july
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3:51 album only
12. cutting your nose off to spite your face
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4:12 album only
13. reprise - the monster you've become
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1:04 album only


Album Notes
Since forming in 2001, New Jersey band Fairmont (guitarist/vocalist Neil Sabatino, guitarist/vocalist Kevin Metz, drummer Andy Applegate and bassist John "Hambone" Mcguire) has already recorded two full-length records, four EPs and toured the U.S. three times. During that time the band has won over fans across the country and shared the bill with artists including Nada Surf, Ted Leo and Val Emmich.
Fairmont evolved out of Eyeball Records band Pencey Prep, a group whose label was made famous by fellow New Jersey rockers, Thursday. As Pencey Prep, the band played shows with the Strokes, Thursday and Nada Surf as well as performed to 4,000 people at NJ's Surf & Skate Fest. After disbanding, one of the members of Pencey Prep went on to join Reprise/Warner Bros recording artist My Chemical Romance.
Fairmont's sound is dark pop, combining engaging melodies with biting lyrics reminiscent of groups including Pavement, the Pixies, the Shins and the Replacements.
Originally a solo acoustic project, Fairmont was signed by Reinforcement Records before a full band had even been organized. Once assembled, in 2001 the group released their first full-length CD, Pretending Greatness Is Awaiting, containing a clever combination of half acoustic and half electric tracks. Anomie, Fairmont's second full-length in 2003, was hailed by BlowUpRadio.com as a "masterpiece." The band's forthcoming CD, Hell Is Other People, will be released as a joint effort between Reinforcement and Renfield Records.
Hell is Other People is Fairmont's most bold effort to date. With more depth than a traditional pop record, Hell Is Other People is a concept album loosely based on Jean Paul Sartre's play, No Exit. Both the record and the play deal with the cruelty of people toward one another and the inability to escape this basic human trend, even when presented with an opportunity to leave. The album takes the listener through the narrator's battle between a person he loves ("Your Fan From Far Away") and a person he hates ("The Monster You've Become"), as well as his own self-loathing and disappointment ("Don't Give Up The Ship"). By album's end, the narrator is still incapable of escaping his own hell, much like the characters in Sartre's play.
Fairmont plans on taking their "tales of bitterness" on the road, with tour dates to support the new album beginning in February.
For more information, please visit www.fairmontmusic.com.


to write a review

Independent Clauses

Fairmont will always be light-years ahead of the average indie band.
Stephen Carradini:

Some bands stay the same. Better bands tweak their sound between albums. The best bands evolve, putting out a musical diary of a life in progress. We still listen to Wilco because no one knows what’s coming next- the same thing with Radiohead. We love bands that we can’t pin down.

That’s why Fairmont is so good. When I first heard their new release Hell is Other People, I was shocked. My critic flags went up, and epithets were soon scrawled out in big letters on imaginary walls: “Where’s the acoustic guitar?” “Why is there a bassist?” “Why is Fairmont rocking?” and most of all “What possessed them to tone down the vocals?”

Yes, Fairmont hasn’t just tweaked their sound. They have given it an extreme makeover, and while it hurt at first, I think that the wrinkles have smoothed out in my perception of this album. Yes, it is way different then Anomie, which is still my favorite indie rock CD of all-time, but it’s also very strong in its own right. It retains many of the qualities that I liked about Anomie, but with different focus. Anomie is about being bitter- the acoustic guitar jangled in an angry way, the vocals were a nasally sneer, absence of bass lent an urgency to the sound, and the fey way in which they pulled it all off made Anomie a near-perfect snapshot of the Neil Sabatino mind. It is a virtually flawless album in many ways.

Hell Is Other People, despite the more bitter-sounding title, actually focuses more on making cohesive music than just being bitter. The songs, now fleshed out with the talents of John McGuire on bass, feature two electric guitars instead of the old acoustic/electric configuration. And, sin of sins, they’ve pulled the vocals down in the mix to more coherently mesh with the music. The result is an album of indie-rock that retains much of the Fairmont songwriting style, but sounds much more polished and ‘normal’ than the Anomie-era Fairmont did.

Is that polish a bad thing? It’s up to the listener to decide. It’s like saying, “Is the switch from ‘voice of a generation’ OK Computer to the self-indulgent Kid A good or bad?” There’s people on both sides. Some people will point at “The Monster You’ve Become” and say that it’s the dark, harmonic rock sound that Fairmont seemed to be aspiring towards on Anomie- others will point to “Monday” and scream that Fairmont would have never made a stab at such a generic rock sound on their previous album.

There are songs here that showcase the brilliance of Fairmont- The dark, overbearing tones of “Hypochondriac” hearken towards bright things for the rocking side of Fairmont. “Twenty/Twenty” allows the unique vocals of Neil Sabatino to shine -complete with vibrato, snarl, and weird melodies- in the context of rock. That’s where Fairmont should be heading. And no matter what anyone says, Neil Sabatino’s voice is great. You will never forget it, and you’ll hum along with it. Therefore, it’s great.

So is the polish a good thing? I would say yes, because, all points considered, Hell is Other People is a good album. It’s a great album to drive to, you’ll get some of it stuck in your head, and you’ll be able to relate to a lot of the lyrics. They’re not all bitter- in fact, only “The Monster You’ve Become”, “Your Pictures on My Dartboard”, and “4th of July” even approach becoming caustic.

If the point of a review is to decide whether to buy a CD or not, I say buy this- no question. Fairmont will always be light-years ahead of the average indie band. But back to theoretical musing- could Hell is Other People be Fairmont’s The Bends before they accomplish their OK Computer? Only time will tell. Hopefully they’ll keep evolving and the next album will show us a completely different side of Fairmont.