Album review: Farewood's 'Wings of Gold'

Nearly every biographical description of Connecticut group Farewood, including its own, mentions the “decay” and “desolate feel” of the band’s hometown, Meriden. It is indeed a dispiriting place, to say the least, though the city’s post-industrial dilapidation has proven a potent influence on husband-wife team Lou Lorenzo and Leah Booker (joined here by longtime drummer Kyle McCarthy and soundscape artist Ed Diaz). They mix the eerie, vacant feel of downtown Meriden with influences from the ’80s indie-rock underground on “Wings of Gold,” their fourth album and first since 2007.

That record, “Figures in Shadows,” was more directly about Meriden, and the corrosive effects of longing for rock ‘n’ roll success that was always, for most Meriden bands, well out of reach. “Wings of Gold” is more oblique, with vocals wrapped in gauzy layers of reverb and surrounded by dark, urgent guitars, swirling atmospheric textures and propulsive rhythms. Booker sings sweetly over chugging guitars on “A Ghost Staring,” while chiming cascades of overdriven guitar frame Lorenzo’s subdued voice on “Be Still in the Blackness,” as Booker chimes in with murmured harmonies. The 8-minute “Witch” takes the moody vibe even further, with Lorenzo and Booker singing softly over a distant wash of roiling guitars.

For all its minor-key musical darkness, much of “Wings of Gold” has a redemptive feel emphasized by the triumphant tone of album closer “Stairs to Freedom.” It’s as if Farewood finally sees a promising glow on the horizon after navigating a long, black night.

— Eric R. Danton

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