READY FOR THEIR CLOSE-UP Fairhaven.
There ain't enough lighter fluid in your Bic to keep pace with Fairhaven's piano-driven anthems on their full-length debut Origins, available beginning this weekend at their CD release show at Lupo's (with friends Monty Are I opening — not too shabby) and at MySpace.com/FairhavenRI. 2009 was a busy year for Fairhaven, initiated by their surprise victory at WBRU's Rock Hunt. Unsuspecting indie rock fans may cringe when they hear Alan Connell's lovelorn cooing and panty-peeling falsetto, but these guys don't seem too worried. Clearly they do not intend to reach the Olneyville warehouse sect nor Weezer-loving 'tweeners, but the clean-cut Cumberland-based foursome have a crystal-clear idea as to where they're headed. According to drummer Jared Gould, the band has already hired a Nashville-based attorney as well as an industry consultant to assist in finding a manager. Three of the four members will finish college in the spring, and the "where do you see your band one year from now?" inquiry receives a pinpoint, career-oriented response.
"One year from now, we hope to have an indie label, along with full-time management and a national booking agent behind us," Gould said. "Within two years and another album recorded, ideally we'd like to be signed to a major label and be prepared to take Fairhaven to a truly national and professional level."
It seems twin brothers Jared and Trevor Gould (piano), crooner Connell, and bassist Nick Pagano are doing all the right things on paper, complete with a meticulous timeline, but inevitably the songs sell the package, and for a crew of childhood friends all under the age of 24, Origins is a highly-polished product, seemingly geared toward the adult contemporary crowd. "There is no conscious effort for a specific 'mature' sound," Gould told me. "The four of us just write what we feel."
Either these guys are wise beyond their years or Cumberland girls have been mercilessly breaking Fairhaven hearts since middle school, as evidenced all over Origins. Connell isn't cracking new ground with his lovelorn lyrics, but the sometimes-sappy wordplay doesn't drag down Origins into a weepy snoozefest. The opening track and first single "Singularity" (released last year on their Catch EP) cruises along, with Pagano's active bass work and Trevor's keys, and the boys were wise to release "Worth it All" as the new single, easily the most uptempo number found on Origins. "Can't Let Go" could have landed on the last Buffalo Tom album, while closing tracks "Safe Passage" and "Embers" ache for your homecoming/prom playlist.
WBRU program director and Rock Hunt chief overseer Wendell Clough witnessed a confident Fairhaven open for Zox and Guster last year in front of a several thousand, a result of winning the '09 Rock Hunt. "On record, they lean to the Fray and Coldplay vibe, but on stage they can loosen up and rock their material a bit harder," Clough said via email last week.
"I'll be the first to admit that Fairhaven's music is not 'in the pocket' for WBRU, but listeners have welcomed them kindly," Clough noted. "The Rock Hunt is not designed to find the best 'alternative rock' act in the area — we're out to find the best live act who wants more exposure.