With their mixed influences and everlasting experimentations, indie rockers A Fragile Tomorrow released their 3rd record on MPress Records “It’s Better That Way”. A journey filled with diverse sounds and influences with the help of guests Peter Holsapple (organ, synth, harmonica, harmonium, banjo) and Vicki Peterson (the Bangles, singing on Fraying Wire ) that we will be digging deeper into right now.
“It’s Better That Way” kicks in with the fuzzy rocking “All Signs to Amsterdam”, its catchy melodic intro with that groovy drumline, and its smooth flow that explodes into a boosting energetic stream of melodies and pounding enjoyable drumming made it a perfect album opener and as we’ll see, a perfect introduction to A Fragile Tomorrow’s sound. Keeping their groove alive while aiming for a brighter sound comes “Feeder”, it’s like a light breeze of air with its expressive emotional solo and catchy chorus melody and even when it smoothly progressed into a heavier sound, kept its fresh sound and returned back to it.
With a rebellious message of resistance against the music industry’s conformity comes “Lost in Art”. It has an open sound with catchy melodies, moving groove and a singalong chorus making it one of the most memorable songs on the record. A Fragile Tomorrow keeps on experimenting on “Superball” with a catchy intimidating vocal melody and the surprising introduction of harmonica that went in perfect harmony with guitars creating some interesting conversations as they both traded melodies. “Another Club”comes next with heavy emotions matching its heavy topic about the loss of mother. It has a melancholic mood but with an open sound rather than a sad one, and a sweet smooth flow with subtle dynamic movements and dark guitar tone with more electronic effects getting introduced adding more layers and textures. With topics like critical social and political issues and the American corrupt political system, I expected a heavier sound of “Fraying Wire”. It has a nice groovy riff with clean guitar tone and chilling vocals with some beautiful vocal harmonies creating a mellow mood for such discussed subjects. “For an Eye” has enjoyable psychedelic vibes with the electronic effects’ layering and a dynamic structure that progresses and gets bigger into an arena-ready sound. Psychedelic sound continues on “System Generated Noise” with more experimentation and heavy use of synths and loops as they expand into a bigger more cinematic sound. With the fuzzy guitars and groovy bass“The Mainstream” opens. It has a nice flow especially with the addition of keys that added a new taste to their mix, this flow keeps progressing smoothly until we reach the interlude around the 1:30 mins mark where hard hitting chords, guitar licks, drums, keys and a bass twist all build up to a big chorus that’ll force you to sing along “f*** the mainstream”as loud as you can. Paying tribute to folk icon Sandy Denny comes the pure folky “Sandy”. With A Fragile Tomorrow using all elements and influences at their disposal like perfect guitar tone, harmonium, banjo, and acoustic guitars creating a smooth laidback progression with a dreamy mood and interrupted flow. Reaching “Look Out”, it gets more impressive how these guys keep experimenting and introducing new elements as we move deeper into the record. Its playful upbeat melody gets hyped with electric elements that fits the music and never sounded odd or misplaced throughout the whole record. The heavy intro of “Collapsed Catholic” was the first thing that grabbed my attention before it turned into a bigger and more interesting psychedelic sound. It’s definitely my favorite one with its progressive/psychedelic overlapping moods and dynamic interesting structure with instruments taking turns in perfect harmony creating a mix of sounds and moods fused with lots of attention to details and clear vision. Ending the record on an energetic high note with “Riding a New Wave ” where we learn that he hastes “Satisfaction”. I would dare to say that it has clear British punk vibes mixed with their way to merge keys with guitars. The pounding drums and fast melodic guitars gave it lots of intensity ending the record headbanging.
“It’s Better That Way” is a record that shows a lot of character and an unstoppable urge of experimentation from A Fragile Tomorrow. It has loads of different influences and surprises that made it an interesting sound journey and left me looking forward to more, cheers!