Totally appropriate as a release on System of a Down vocalist Serj Tankian's label Serjical Strike, comes Fair to Midland. These guys, who hail from Dallas, are in the same sort of out-there cerebral stratosphere as System, which means they're brilliantly chaotic.
While they are recording their debut CD for release next year, this EP (produced by Tankian) has two original demos, 2 live cuts and a video that includes interviews, studio and live stuff.
The first song doesn't sound like a demo. "Orphan Anthem '86" begins innocuously enough with a serene intro before the blitzkrieg happens. On a dime, the smoke clears and we're back to the melodic verses and the abilities of vocalist Darroh Sudderth is quickly evident. The song melts into a gorgeous chorus that builds with a confidence of a band far beyond these young years. Impressive indeed.
"Kyla Cries Cologne" sounds remotely similar but is slightly more aggressive throughout. "A Seafarer's Knot" and "Abigail", both live, are quite engaging, sort of like a cross between System and Coheed.
These live cuts show a band that executes like the brain pattern print-out of a brain-addled homeless guy. There are moments of lucid, beautiful melody before being butchered by segments of psychotic rage.
Without a doubt, this band has a bright future ahead of them. The talent is tangible and between the songwriting and charisma of their font man, they should have a good run.