Far Places - Out of Touch
Technology has long since changed collaborative musical dynamics so that things once unthinkable or unfeasible are now the norm. Far Places, an indie electronic tandem, are separated by the physical distance of practically an entire continent, yet they’ve discovered a potent chemistry capable of transcending the miles. Fallon Bridgeland handles vocals with Evan Chambers contributing his own voice and framing the duo’s songs with superlative production values and their material has proven quite popular – Far Places’ music has tallied over a million SoundCloud plays and scored a spot on Spotify’s Viral Top 50 in the United Kingdom. Their command of atmospherics enhancing the core songwriting is impressive, but the core songwriting values in their material sets them apart from similar acts. Far Places will certainly expand their profile and continued viability with their latest release Out of Touch.
The four song EP opens with its title song. Fallon Bridgeland’s incandescent lead vocal for the track is an excellent match for the bright bounce and airy electronic structure. There’s some glittering crescendos built into the song cascading over listeners at crucial points and Evan Chambers adds some gossamer backing vocals providing an extra shine to the piece, but the overall vocal arrangement is excellent throughout. The second track “Stormy Eyed” hits on some of the duo’s aforementioned talent for theatrics and it’s thankfully never overwrought. The crystalline, oddly plaintive quality of the song has a palpable ache as well – there’s a beautifully wounded mood defining this song unlike anything else on Out of Touch.
The EP’s penultimate number “Feel This” uses percussion in a much different way than elsewhere on the collection. It’s obviously pre-programmed, like much of the duo’s music, but applying an artful amount of post-production effects to the sound gives it a warm, surprisingly live bite. The vocal arrangement is, once again, strong and highlights Bridgeland’s voice. It’s, arguably, the closest thing to an outright commercial number on Out of Touch, thanks to its insistently catchy chorus, but the finale “Bring You Alive” moves in much more rarefied air. The duo covers territory we hear them exploring so confidently in the EP’s second song and there’s a near progressive or art pop feel in how they so subtly manipulate dynamics and value cumulative effects over immediacy. The song never succumbs to self-indulgence and its patient development rewards listeners in a painterly fashion.
Far Places are deceptively versatile and discerning listeners will likely finish a couple of runs through this EP certain they are skimming the surface of their talents. That isn’t to say their current electronic pop direction is confining or restrictive – far from it. Instead, they excel with this form and the continued refining of their musical vision will likely push them forward for years to come. Out of Touch is one of the most superb releases you’ll hear in this vein during 2018.