Voted by Kerrang! as one of the top three most influential post hardcore/emo albums of all-time, Far's Water & Solutions is now re-released as a 2 disc CD/DVD package on Immortal Records.
To be honest, I'd heard of Far before receiving this release in the mail, but I'd never bothered to check out their music. Little did I know, many of the bands I used to be into a few years ago were very influenced by Far. So, as I was sitting here listening for the first time, I was going..."oh that sounds like so-and-so" or "wow, that's really similar to what's their names." Listening to this CD brought back memories of bands like Embodyment (Narrow Scope-era), Joe Christmas, etc...
Overall, Far runs the gamet from soft and mellow music with "pretty, but whiney" vocals, to much heavier pieces with blood-curlding screams. They do it masterfully actually, which leaves no surprise that so many bands were influenced by them. Vocally, Jonah Matranga sounds pretty solid most of the time, although occasionally his pretty boy vocals sound a little inconsistent. This band would be better if they had all the same musicians, but instead had the much more talented vocal abilities of Sean Corbey of Embodyment. But alas, Matranga will have to do. Thankfully, his screams are very good and make up for some of the clean styled vocals that didn't sit right with me.
The songs here are pretty catchy and will have you singing along for the rest of the day, regardless of what you listen to afterwards. The momentous musical swells between soothing and raging can often catch you off guard though. Top songs would have to be "Bury White", "Mother Mary", "The System", and "Man Overboard". Not really a song on the disc that is skip material (if you're into this style of music).
This re-release also includes a cool DVD with tons of special stuff including a live concert, home videos of different concerts, liner notes from the band members, a slide picture with commentary, and two versions of the "Mother Mary" concept video. The live concert at the Metro was probably my favorite part of the DVD. The sound and camera work was really good. Although, Matranga's vocals are even shakier here than on the album itself. He and the band put on a passionate performance though, despite a dull crowd (until the last song).
Lyrically, the band is a little hard to figure out at times. They explained some of the songs on the DVD, but even with that help, some of the songs didn't seem to talk about what the band said they did. Then other songs are easily understandable. A song like "Waiting for Sunday" deals with responsibility and even causes the listener to think deep despite the simple lyrics. They state: "I'm always frightened/I wear my helmet everyday/I'm scared the sky might tumble down from heaven/I blame my neighbors/I wish that they'd all move away/They're all on welfare, kill babies, pass bad laws, start all the wars/I wait for a miracle/I go to big building, I pray/I dance with demons, they whisper my fate/Scare me into thinking I'm saved/We're all so tired/We wear our raincoats everyday/To keep the wet and wind and world out/Waiting for Sunday."
The song "Nestle" has some interesting lyrics regarding Matranga's dive into fatherhood, "When I started this, I was thinking of my Father/Now a Holy Ghost/Now see one become the other/One become me..."
So, as you can see, some of the lyrics are fairly serious, while some are kinda shallow. Topics range from everyday life, to responsibility, to fatherhood, to love, to change. And for those that get offended by colorful language, the song "Bury White" includes the good ol' "s" word. Other than that, the boys are pretty clean mouthed.
Overall, a pretty cool release by a band that I'm all of the sudden very familar with after never hearing their music a few weeks ago. If you're into emo, this is certainly something you'll want to pick up. (Review by Matt)