Frontier(s): There Will Be No Miracles Here (Arena Rock Recording Company)
The name Chris Higdon should be instantly recognizable to anyone ever involved with the emo (used in its correct term, of course) and post-hardcore scenes. While some probably remember him as the voice of Falling Forward, most associate him with one of the greatest bands ever: the mighty Elliott. I don’t know many people who weren’t a little distraught when the latter broke up, but don’t worry, we now have something to live for.
I managed to get my hands on a copy of the first release from Chris’ new band Frontier(s) before it’s drop date, and friends, There Will Be No Miracles Here is exactly what we Elliott fans been waiting for.
It might sound strange to say that fans of a past band are going to instantly eat up an album just because a member creates a bridge to a new ensemble, but it is blatantly obvious why in this case. Within a few seconds of listening, it hits that this is an album involving Elliott’s frontman, and that’s not a bad thing. Everything from the progressions to the guitar structure to Higdon’s unmistakable vocals hint back to the various styles of Elliott’s past releases. This record melds the urgency of US Songs, the spaciousness of Song in the Air, and the catchy moments of False Cathedrals into one powerful release.
This doesn’t mean I’m saying Frontier(s) doesn’t bother to do anything different than recall the past. The album has a driving feel to it, at times reminding me of bands like Knapsack, and there seems to be a good deal of attention paid to hooks and choruses. A lot of elements associated with indie rock, especially in relation to the guitars’ interplay between chords, arpeggios, and timing, are noticeable, and that makes for some pretty dynamic bursts, particularly on songs like “Abul Abbas” and “Young Lives.”
In all honesty, this album lives up to the hype it’s been receiving since the band started working on it years ago. I can’t see any reason to not pick this up as soon as it comes out. Louisville is back on the map… or something.