Fm Down - White Noise
Did you know that there are not one but TWO separate Bon Iver Days in the great Badger State of Wisconsin? Both Milwaukee and Justin Vernon's hometown of Eau Claire have been recognizing their favorite indie folk son since 2011, but some fellow cheeseheads who probably won't be lining any parade route for him any time soon are FM Down. There isn't much haunting melancholy to be found on their 6-track debut, White Noise, although the album cover's lone wintry tree IS reminiscent of Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago.
OK, enough about Bon Iver; FM Down have infinitely more in common with a punk group just over 300 miles southeast from them in Chicago, that being Rise Against. Lead singer Will Wall also doubles as FM Down's primary guitarist, and is at times explosive in his playing. Like R.A.'s Zach Blair and Tim McIlrath, Wall isn't so much fast as he is solidly steady, with an ever so slight touch of scuzzy blues. Wall is complemented nicely on keyboards by bandmate Andrew Liss, especially on fifth song "Polarized", where his synths really come to the forefront.
I've got to be honest, I almost gave up FM Down after hearing a little auto-tuning on opener "Supernova". Their adherence to loud, unabashed rock 'n' roll principles the rest of the way won me back. That, and I couldn't help but notice on their Facebook page how they're obviously Rush fans. Probably most impressive for me was the inclusion of an acoustic repeat of "All the Things You Wish You Were", which I found so much more personally powerful than its electric predecessor. Maybe FM Down isn't so unfamiliar with Vernon's cabin...
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