Provo, Utah just might be the last place you’d expect to find the next big thing in modern music, but that’s exactly where Fictionist hails from. Melding deft songwriting to adventurous arrangements, the band is poised to take their seductive sonic message global in 2011.
“Our music incorporates so many different elements,” keyboardist Jacob Jones says. “There’s a pop sensibility to it, but also a wide spectrum of other influences as well – from James Taylor to Pink Floyd and beyond. All of it comes together in our live shows. That’s where the music explodes.”
Fictionist marries majestic harmonies and unforgettable pop hooks to unexpected aural landscapes. Tracks like “Strangers In The Dark” and “Blue Eyed Universe” signal the mellifluous meeting of indie rock and folk/pop. Cascading chord structures collide with 70’s era harmonies, complete with gritty guitar licks and lyrical song twists. Live, the band can go in a myriad of musical directions, explosive one minute, and jammified the next. With Fictionist, always expect the unexpected. This is a band with soul and swagger.
The band is the brainchild of singer/songwriter and bassist Stuart Maxfield, who began performing with keyboardist Jones while they both attended Brigham Young University in Provo. The pair would anchor a series of successful bands that would tour and record to local acclaim, eventually forming Fictionist in 2008. They would take their name from the inventive imagery in Maxfield’s songs, as well as a band member’s dreams.
“Our music is incredibly story driven,” Jones explains. “Stuart is a born writer and storyteller, and when our drummer actually dreamed the name Fictionist in his sleep, we knew we were on to something.”
The band would record their first album Invisible Hand with producer Aaron Hatch, building a studio in Salt Lake City, Utah to ensure they could capture their dynamic live energy on record.
“We wanted to track everything live as a band,” Jones says. “That chemistry is one of the most important aspects of our music. We needed it to come through on the album.”
Fictionist would release Invisible Hand independently in 2009 to great regional acclaim, touring throughout Utah, California and Nevada. A loyal local following would ensue at storied venues like Provo’s Velour, where the band would return time and time again to SRO crowds. They would reconvene in the studio to record their follow-up album Lasting Echo, collaborating with acclaimed producer and mixer Scott Wiley. Once again, the band would insist that the record be cut all the way live.
“We tracked that album in just over a month,” Jones remarks. “We had rehearsed so much by the time we started recording that everything just fell into place.”
Lasting Echo was released in March 2010, with Fictionist mounting a national tour to support it soon after. Audiences and critics alike would praise the album’s soulful songs and startling sonics, as well as the band’s captivating concerts at top tier venues from Los Angeles, CA to Brooklyn, NY. They would also make a 2010 appearance at the famed SXSW Music Conference in Austin, Texas. National buzz would follow soon after, with particular attention focusing on the band’s masterful musical range.
“I think one of the reasons people gravitate toward our band is that we’re influenced by a wide array of things,” Jones explains. “From classic singer/songwriters, to bands like Radiohead and Led Zeppelin – there’s even a jazz component to our music. Stuart and I both came-up playing jazz, in fact, he’s still heavily influenced by people like John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. So that kind of variety encompasses everything we do. We want to take people on a musical voyage every night.”
Fictionist starts 2011 off hard at work, both on the road and in the studio. “The plan is to keep building the buzz,” Jones says. “We’re doing shows and recording new songs – getting the word out every chance we can. We’re ready to take this all the way.”
Much like the lyrics from their soaring song Invisible Hand, Fictionist is indeed poised to shoot for the stars.
We got one tear for heartache,
Another tear for pain
Drowning in our depths and we’re burning in our flames
And oh, we’re going to give all away this time.
We’re bound for the door, hanging in the sky
Yeah, we’re going to give it all away this time.
"Lasting Echo, the second full-length album from the Utah band Fictionist, is full of friendly pop-rock features and layered instrumentation marked by Wilco-esque guitars. The songs range from shimmering, quiet ballads (“Have Mercy”) to anthemic speaker-blowers (“Well Made Shadow”), and while the lyrical sentiments may be straightforward, the music itself is not. It winds through classic rock guitar riffs, prog-rock arrangements sparkling pianos and intricate rhythms, building up and breaking down like an ever-moving nomad across the album as a whole—even within individual songs." - Paste Magazine
"Moody, atmospheric rock with dark pop tendencies...a lush album that gains strength from its balance of relaxed tones and tension." - CDbaby
"Lasting Echo has shades of Pink Floyd and Radiohead that immediately capture the imagination." - Salt Lake City Weekly
"A band whose music continuously transitions from pop to indie to folk, all while pensively reveling in ethereal bridges and floating, dream-like meditations." - The Daily Universe
"They have settled into a tempered rhythm that incorporates a southern sound merged with classic rock influence." - The Album Project
"Simply put Fictionist is one of the best bands I’ve ever heard." - TheSpectrum.com
Stuart Maxfield- Vocals/Guitar
Spencer Harrison-Bass Guitar/Vocals
Lasting Echo (Mar. 2010)
Fictionist's sophomore full-length release boasting stellar musicianship and textural inventiveness in 11 honest and inviting original tracks.
Lasting Echo's "Blue-eyed Universe" debuted and has continually charted on College Music Journal's top 200 along with such artists as Spoon, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend, and XX.
Invisible Hand (Jan. 2009)
Fictionist's debut full-length album complete with 11 elegant and singable original tracks.
Rolling Stone Choose the Cover Contest
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"Laid-back space-rock quintet whose founding members met while studying jazz at Brigham Young Univer..."Laid-back space-rock quintet whose founding members met while studying jazz at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Yes, they're all Mormon, but they try to keep overt religious references out of their songs. "Music is an area in life where there aren't religious things and secular things that separate us," says singer-bassist Stuart Maxfield. "Everybody can go to a concert and enjoy it."
Sound: A blend of psychedelia – heavy on the guitar effects – and peppy indie rock. "Pink Floyd is a big influence for us, that atmospheric rock," says Maxfield. "And Arcade Fire never cease to amaze me."
The Benefits of Prohibition: Maxfield says that living in Provo, a virtually dry town, actually makes the music scene better. "The only way promoters make money is to book bands with regional followings and promote really hard," he says. "Bands work hard too, because there's no money coming from alcohol sales."
Paste Digital VIP Bonus Downloads-April 2010 Bonus Album: Fictionist: Lasting Echo
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"Lasting Echo, the second full-length album from the Utah band Fictionist, is full of friendly pop-r..."Lasting Echo, the second full-length album from the Utah band Fictionist, is full of friendly pop-rock features and layered instrumentation marked by Wilco-esque guitars. The songs range from shimmering, quiet ballads (“Have Mercy”) to anthemic speaker-blowers (“Well Made Shadow”), and while the lyrical sentiments may be straightforward, the music itself is not. It winds through classic rock guitar riffs, prog-rock arrangements sparkling pianos and intricate rhythms, building up and breaking down like an ever-moving nomad across the album as a whole—even within individual songs." — Lindsey Lee
CD Baby Editor's Picks - Lasting Echo Review
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"Countless bands site Radiohead and Pink Floyd as influences. Few deliver on that promised sonic ass..."Countless bands site Radiohead and Pink Floyd as influences. Few deliver on that promised sonic association. Fictionist does not disappoint, though. Like those two iconic British bands, this Utah act blends moody, atmospheric rock with dark pop tendencies to create a lush album that gains strength from its balance of relaxed tones and tension. Singer Stuart Maxfield has a voice reminiscent of David Gilmour, understated and easy, but capable of soulful, scrappy energetic leaps. But Fictionist isn't a purely anglophile band, either. One can hear the influence of American acts like Wilco, Jim O'Rourke, and Sonic Youth as well, particularly in their blurty guitar interplay and their occasional forays into friendly barroom grooves sprinkled with more menacing noise elements on top." - Chris at CD Baby
1 Liner: Fictionist – Lasting Echo
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"On the band’s second release they have settled into a tempered rhythm that incorporates a southern ..."On the band’s second release they have settled into a tempered rhythm that incorporates a southern sound merged with classic rock influence. “Human Wings” and “Blue-Eyed Universe” immediately show the album’s attractiveness, while some of the other tracks take longer to get aquatinted with, though are just as good. Overall a record that sneaks up slowly, but ends up satisfying in every way."
CD Baby Editor's Review - Invisible Hand
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"With six members in its fold, this Salt Lake City outfit sees endless possibilities in their sound,..."With six members in its fold, this Salt Lake City outfit sees endless possibilities in their sound, and they do a stunning job of realizing those visions. On "Noisy Birds," the opening track on this 11-song disc, they start easy, employing piano and semi-muted guitar over chirping sound effects. The vocals mirror the feel, entering in an initially delicate fashion, but hinting at a continuous stirring that eventually breaks the song wide open. Three minutes later, everything is swirling: the drums are rumbling along with the bass, that opening guitar is sprawled out and flying, and the sparse chirps have made way for encircling strings sounds. The sum of all the parts is grand, but it's never busy or overwhelming, and the same can be said for the rest of the record. These songs are mapped out exquisitely, with each player knowing his role, whether it be in a rhythmic vamp or a death-defying solo. For a prime example, make sure to check out the ethereally flowing closer, "Song for B."
Local Releases: Fictionist, Shark Speed, The Continentals
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"Taking a darker and more experimental tone than the successful Invisible Hand, the new album Lastin..."Taking a darker and more experimental tone than the successful Invisible Hand, the new album Lasting Echo has shades of Pink Floyd and Radiohead that immediately capture the imagination. Why this isn't getting more radio play... who knows?!" -Gavin Sheehan
More at www.saltlakecityweekly.net
Review of "Lasting Echo" by Fictionist
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"Simply put Fictionist is one of the best bands I’ve ever heard. They aren’t just good for a Utah ba..."Simply put Fictionist is one of the best bands I’ve ever heard. They aren’t just good for a Utah band. They aren’t just good for an unsigned, indie band. These guys deserve to stand alongside some of my favorite internationally known acts like Radiohead, My Morning Jacket, The Arcade Fire and others.
"They are that good. Fictionist’s 2009 album, “Invisible Hand,” was my fifth favorite record of the year. The band’s follow-up, “Lasting Echo,” is even better.
"It’s simply masterful.
"Listening to this track it’s baffling that Fictionist is still largely unknown nationwide. This is easily better than most albums released by major record companies." -Brian Passey
More at www.thespectrum.com
A Blue Indian Review: Fictionist's
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"Lasting Echo is Fictionist’s follow up to their debut album, Invisible Hand. In this venture, the ..."Lasting Echo is Fictionist’s follow up to their debut album, Invisible Hand. In this venture, the sextet based out of Salt Lake City has created sonically driven music that has the ability to transform your morning commute into a journey of pure ecstasy. The thoughtful layering of instrumentation, both aggressive and inviting, melds with the vocals, creating 11 songs that rise to the rafters and could cause doves to swoon… or just as easily cause them to flutter away in the wake of a guitar riff.
"The album can best be described as a showcasing event, where every instrument can have its glory day. The arrangement in each song allows for every band member to contribute a fundamental piece of music, especially in the realm of guitars (Fictionist has three of them). In songs like “The Well-Made Shadow” and “Time to Time,” the strings are a powerful mix of Incubus and Queens of the Stone Age. Yet in “Suffering Angel” the guitar solo could play distant cousin to the “Hotel California” intro. Regardless, the effect is the same across the boards—a stylized and pseudo-psychedelic journey ensues while listening to this music.
"It’s difficult to place lead singer Stuart Maxfield’s lyrical capabilities into a consistent group of vocalists. One moment, his voice is smooth and dark, a touch soulful—the balancing weight against the sandpaper rub of guitar chords in the background. The next, he has changed the entire aesthetic of the song, rivaling the instrumentation.
"Lyrically, there are a handful of songs on the album that are relatable in the realm of relationships and affinity. There is solid, visual story-telling in “The Well-Made Shadow” and an interesting take on simple human existence in the song “Fire Don’t Set You Free,” which sings “So hold your head between your knees. Think no evil thought and don’t you do no evil deed. Every man is just a man, so you can trust him while you can.”
“Strangers in the Dark” is totally an ethereal experience, vocally. It’s also probably one of my favorite tracks off this album because it is an amalgam of everything good: subtle percussion mounted with eerie keys, bass that can stand its ground and guitars that are equal parts dirty and crisp, with a little lean towards classic rock. Here, as in songs like “Sunshine of a Shell,” Maxfield unfurls his melodic vocals into a tone that is freakishly reminiscent of Chris Cornell.
"It has to be said that Lasting Echo is a radio-ready album, which can be both good and bad. If you’re looking for music that is challenging and obscure, this is not for you. But if you are ok with just enjoying music, rather than having to figure it out, then you’ll benefit from the talented, infectious rhythm and hooks created by the band. One full play through and you will have this album on repeat for days.
By Beth Yeckley
Fictionist releases second album
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"It’s hard to describe the sound of a band whose music continuously transitions from pop to indie to..."It’s hard to describe the sound of a band whose music continuously transitions from pop to indie to folk, all while pensively reveling in ethereal bridges and floating, dream-like meditations.
"Regardless, Salt Lake City band Fictionist is making a stir in Utah’s melting pot of local music.
"Fictionist front man Stuart Maxfield said the band has been playing together officially for about a year-and-a-half now.
"He also said the band’s sound is nostalgic in the sense that it is somewhat of a reflection of its influences — primarily singer-songwriters from the ’70s like Joni Mitchell — with a modern twist.
“Our goal with this album was no different from any other album. We’re just trying to make good music,” Maxfield said. “It’s a refinement of the Fictionist sound. It’s adventurous and a little heavier. We took some liberties to stretch things more on this album.”
"Corey Fox, owner of Velour, is excited to have Fictionist, a “Velour regular,” play at his venue.
“This will be one of the more long-awaited, locally anticipated shows,” Fox said. “Fictionist has one of the biggest fan bases in Utah.”
By Chase Larson
More at universe.byu.edu
MUSIC: Album Review: Fictionist, Lasting Echo
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"I must first say it’s wonderful that we do, on occasion, find some diversity in the indie folk-lade..."I must first say it’s wonderful that we do, on occasion, find some diversity in the indie folk-laden market we call the Provo music scene. This particular occasion is brought to you by Fictionist.
"If you have not yet heard of Fictionist and have lived or been going to school in Provo for more than six months, you’ve probably been covering your eyes and your ears, because they’re everywhere. Walk to campus, I guarantee you’ll see at least three of their posters. Maybe on your way back you’ll catch some of the sidewalk chalk at the intersections advertising for their upcoming shows. And if you’ve been reading The Daily Universe at all in the past while, you’ll have read their name in various articles and perhaps taken a gander at their photo on the front page. They’ve developed a knack for getting the word out, and it’s obvious that it works — their local shows often have an attendance in the hundreds.
"For those that have not been under a rock lately, you’ll have already taken note of the psychedelic posters plastered on telephone poles and street lights all around and why they’re up. Fictionist’s new full-length album, Lasting Echo, was recently officially released. But if you want to know what you’re getting into, look no further. Welcome to Fictionist’s Lasting Echo, the official Rhombus review.
"Minimalist. Simple. Superficial. Such words could never apply to a description of this album, evident even within the first 30 seconds of sound. “Always,” the album’s first track, is nothing short of an out-of-body vacation through space and beyond, with its intricately layered guitar work and complex rhythms. There is one part where the song arrives at a familiar four-beat pattern, but that quickly goes away and you are left swimming in the enormity that is the world — or lack of world — that Fictionist creates for you. It is out there you will stay for the entirety of the album.
"The lyrics match the complexity of the music and remind me an awful lot of the poetry of Carl Sandburg, if not a tad more ambiguous. And though Fictionist is not the first place I would think to find a love song, few songwriters exist that can produce such elegant wording as “If I ever saw a reflection of God, it was when you saved me from all the things I was.”
"Ultimately I give Lasting Echo a 7.5 out of 10 — it failed to strike me down with excitement and wonder, but it did not disappoint in the least. I likely will appreciate it more and more as I continue listening and unwrapping the many layers.
“But,” as our friend LeVar Burton says in our favorite educational television show, “you don’t have to take my word for it.” Go to one of their local shows and see for yourself. If you find any money in your pocket, you’ll probably come home with their CD."
-Scott Manning, music correspondent at Rhombus Magazine
More at www.rhombusmag.com
Fictionist - Lasting Echo
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"Out west, everything seems bigger than their counterparts here on the east coast. The sky, mountain..."Out west, everything seems bigger than their counterparts here on the east coast. The sky, mountains, fields, the states, everything. Thus, it comes as no surprised that Fictionist, with their latest album, Lasting Echo, seems far more impressive, grander and epic than anything that really comes out of the East Coast. Hailing from Utah, the size difference might be the key, but the band certainly does their part to fill that role nicely.
Lasting Echo is a really solid album. There’s no reason why I should particularly like this album, the indie-music fan in me tells me, but there really is a lot to this album that I like. With a sound that really reminds me of Civil Twilight or Low Millions, they have an easygoing alternative-rock sound that I found really suited my ears while in the car. “As gentle as gentle as a summer breeze,” is one of the lyrics off of the second track, Human Wings, and that’s a lot of how it really sounds with some of the tracks. Other tracks, such as Blue-Eyed Universe and Time to Time lay down a good driving beat that that set me back with my feet tapping along. Several other reviewed mentioned similarities to older classic rock artists such as Pink Floyd and the Beatles, and I can see the comparison, especially with some of the guitar work that comes along with some of the songs. But there’s a wholly unique feel to this music, despite the comparisons to music new and old.
"Like a lot of artists that I’ve come to listen to, I really appreciate that the band varies its tone, sound and themes between songs over the course of the album. This is a crucial element to really good albums (although not universally) because it brings a band out of a one-dimensional sound that either staples the band to one image, which ultimately, in my mind, is harmful to the overall effect on the music. Music is supposed to be versatile, interesting and surprising, all at the same time. Listening to Fictionist just once may give that impression, with a fairly average alt-rock sound, but upon other listens, I hear some very interesting guitar tracks during Suffering Angel, and other little things that crop up against the sound throughout that gives Lasting Echo more character and a richness to it that few albums really have."
More at http://carryyouaway.wordpress.com
Sunshine of a Shell
Strangers in the Dark
The Well-made Shadow
Time to Time
Deeper and Deeper
Fire Don't Set You Free
Song for B
Nowhere To Go
Typical set length ranges from 30 minutes to two hours depending on style and format of the show.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.