Gig Seeker Pro


Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Independent Clauses"

Some bands stay the same. Better bands tweak their sound between albums. The best bands evolve, putting out a musical diary of a life in progress. We still listen to Wilco because no one knows what’s coming next- the same thing with Radiohead. We love bands that we can’t pin down.

That’s why Fairmont is so good. When I first heard their new release Hell is Other People, I was shocked. My critic flags went up, and epithets were soon scrawled out in big letters on imaginary walls: “Where’s the acoustic guitar?” “Why is there a bassist?” “Why is Fairmont rocking?” and most of all “What possessed them to tone down the vocals?”

Yes, Fairmont hasn’t just tweaked their sound. They have given it an extreme makeover, and while it hurt at first, I think that the wrinkles have smoothed out in my perception of this album. Yes, it is way different then Anomie, which is still my favorite indie rock CD of all-time, but it’s also very strong in its own right. It retains many of the qualities that I liked about Anomie, but with different focus. Anomie is about being bitter- the acoustic guitar jangled in an angry way, the vocals were a nasally sneer, absence of bass lent an urgency to the sound, and the fey way in which they pulled it all off made Anomie a near-perfect snapshot of the Neil Sabatino mind. It is a virtually flawless album in many ways.

Hell Is Other People, despite the more bitter-sounding title, actually focuses more on making cohesive music than just being bitter. The songs, now fleshed out with the talents of John McGuire on bass, feature two electric guitars instead of the old acoustic/electric configuration. And, sin of sins, they’ve pulled the vocals down in the mix to more coherently mesh with the music. The result is an album of indie-rock that retains much of the Fairmont songwriting style, but sounds much more polished and ‘normal’ than the Anomie-era Fairmont did.

Is that polish a bad thing? It’s up to the listener to decide. It’s like saying, “Is the switch from ‘voice of a generation’ OK Computer to the self-indulgent Kid A good or bad?” There’s people on both sides. Some people will point at “The Monster You’ve Become” and say that it’s the dark, harmonic rock sound that Fairmont seemed to be aspiring towards on Anomie- others will point to “Monday” and scream that Fairmont would have never made a stab at such a generic rock sound on their previous album.

There are songs here that showcase the brilliance of Fairmont- The dark, overbearing tones of “Hypochondriac” hearken towards bright things for the rocking side of Fairmont. “Twenty/Twenty” allows the unique vocals of Neil Sabatino to shine -complete with vibrato, snarl, and weird melodies- in the context of rock. That’s where Fairmont should be heading. And no matter what anyone says, Neil Sabatino’s voice is great. You will never forget it, and you’ll hum along with it. Therefore, it’s great.

So is the polish a good thing? I would say yes, because, all points considered, Hell is Other People is a good album. It’s a great album to drive to, you’ll get some of it stuck in your head, and you’ll be able to relate to a lot of the lyrics. They’re not all bitter- in fact, only “The Monster You’ve Become”, “Your Pictures on My Dartboard”, and “4th of July” even approach becoming caustic.

If the point of a review is to decide whether to buy a CD or not, I say buy this- no question. Fairmont will always be light-years ahead of the average indie band. But back to theoretical musing- could Hell is Other People be Fairmont’s The Bends before they accomplish their OK Computer? Only time will tell. Hopefully they’ll keep evolving and the next album will show us a completely different side of Fairmont.
- Stephen Carradini

"The Aquarian Weekly"

FAIRMONT DECIDES THAT: ‘HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE’ -Limbered up live thanks to a slew of East Coast dates that will culminate in a CD release party Friday, Mar. 4, at The Loop Lounge in Passaic Park, Clifton, NJ–based Fairmont are backing a winner in their third full-length effort, the 13-song Hell Is Other People on Reinforcement/Renfield Records.

A conceptual album inspired in part (according to their bio) by Jean Paul Sartre's, No Exit, guitarist/vocalist Neil Sabatino, guitarist/vocalist Kevin Metz, drummer Andy Applegate, and bassist John McGuire focus their attention on our unusually cruel treatment of one another (man-to-woman, woman-to-man) and our seeming inability to escape the cycle. While lyrically dark, yearning, bitter, resigned and emotionally fixated, the group’s intelligent, cynically observant world view and innocent, anti-pop minimalism plays extremely well against the hook-filled, pure-pop ache of such influences as Translator, The Only Ones, Green Day, the Lemonheads, Big Star, Saves The Day, Heatmiser, and The Pixies. In keeping with the talented four piece’s moody acceptance of people as people will be, a touch of U2-intense immediacy and Radiohead-aware introspection are also added to the mix. A strong, confident, self-assured, commercially accessible effort from an outstanding young band just beginning to hit its creative stride; standout tracks include “Don’t Worry It’s Just Monday,” “Your Picture’s On My Dartboard,” and “Don’t Give Up The Ship.”
- Al Muzer

"Jersey Beat"

I can’t say I’m shocked by how good this is; Fairmont’s always been a NJ favorite of mine, especially since the fluctuating lineup coalesced into the current band a little over a year ago. But I’m still pleasantly surprised at the quantum leap the band has taken since its debut full-length. Frontman Neil Sabatino has been a fixture in the NJ punk scene for years in bands like Stick Figure Suicide and Pencey Prep, but he was never a lead singer until he formed Fairmont. On Fairmont’s earliest recordings as basically a solo/acoustic project for Sabatino, he sounded like a guy still learning how to sing. He was often outside his range, straining to hit the high  notes, or singing as if he was afraid that no one was going to like his voice.  That all changes with 'Hell Is Other People;’  Sabatino sounds relaxed, confident, and accomplished here, his vocals still nuanced and emotional, but not  fragile or strained as they have in the past. The songwriting’s great too, mostly anti-love songs about girls who have done these guys wrong. Sabatino’s “The Monster You’ve Become,”  “Your Pictures On My Dartboard,” and “Cutting Your Noise Off To Spite Your Face” all pull no punches without the whiny self-loathing or self-pity of so much emo. And I just love the poppy edginess of the two songs contributed by guitarist Kevin Metz:  “Don’t Worry It’s Just Monday” ranks alongside  the pop/punk head-bobbers that Saves The Day used to write, while “Hypochondriac” is a humorous bit of self-reproach. Roll over Val Emmich and tell Hero Pattern the news, there’s a new player in the Garden State indie scene. – Jim Testa
- Jim Testa

"The Portland Pheonix"

The only good thing to come out of New Jersey (other than Bruce
Springsteen), is Fairmont, who formed in 2001 and describe their sound as
dark pop, which means they sound kind of b-boppity, but have biting lyrics.
For example: In "The Monster You©ˆve Become," frontman Neil purrs "I hope you
have no regrets/ Do you still smoke cigarettes?/ I hope the cancer is eating
you alive/ I©ˆve had enough of you." It©ˆs very Pixies-ish, as is most of the
album Hell is Other People. - Amy Martin

"Blow Up Radio .com"

Fairmont has been around the local music scene for a while in various formations, but always at the front of the band was singer/guitarist Neil Sabatino. At times Fairmont's sound didn't seem to work altogether, but Neil's voice and lyrics always made the band interesting. In 2003 the band solidified into the current line-up, including Kevin Metz (guitar & vocals), Andy Applegate (drums) and John McGuire (bass), and this is not only the strongest line-up Fairmont has ever had, but they have found the sound that works best with Neil's voice. The first album with this line-up (sans John who joined shortly after it was recorded), "anomie", I previously called a, "masterpiece of an album", but if there was any flaw with that album it was that they were still trying to figure out exactly what their sound was, so to some the album was not a cohesive album.

"Hell is other people" shows that they have found their sound, and it is a wonderful post-punk indie-rock sound. Reminiscent of the Pixies in their pop sensibilities, this album has got plenty of indie credibility without feeling the need to avoid catchy hooks and harmonies. Songs like, "your pictures on my dart board" and "hypochondriac" are undeniably catchy, but lyrically are far removed from standard pop fare ("your pictures on my dart board" is like a letter to someone who has hurt the author too many times, and "hypochondriac" is about...well, being a hypochondriac).

Another thing I noticed with this album, is that Neil sounds more secure in his singing abilities than ever before, and maybe that comes from finally finding the perfect sound to complement his vocals. Fairmont's first album was called "pretending greatness is awaiting", well I dub "hell is other people" to be, "greatness is achieved".
- Lazlo


Hell is Other People LP - 2005 Renfield/Reinforcement
Anomie LP - 2003 Reinforcement
Pretending Greatness is Awaiting LP - 2001 Reinforcment
3 way Split EP - 7 songs Reinforcement
The Hand That Holds the Knife EP - Reinforcement
Le Mal EP - Self Released


Feeling a bit camera shy


Fairmont has had a busy year, playing shows to enthusiastic fans all over the Northeast. The band's momentum continues with the release of their CD, Hell Is Other People, released on February 15th 2005. Fairmont’s initial tour hit everywhere on the east coast from Washington DC up to Lewiston,Maine and the band isalways constantly playing the northeast and beyond.

New Jersey-based Fairmont are no strangers to the road. The band has toured the U.S. three times, sharing the bill with artists such as Nada Surf, Ted Leo and Val Emmich. The group also played with The Strokes and Thursday under the name Pencey Prep, as well as performed to 4,000 people at NJ's Surf & Skate Fest.

Fairmont was born from Eyeball Records' band Pencey Prep, whose label boasts alumni including fellow New Jersey rockers, Thursday. After disbanding, one member from Pencey Prep went on to join Reprise/Warner recording artist My Chemical Romance.

With biting lyrics and engaging melodies, Fairmont's sound can be described as dark pop, blending elements of groups like Pavement, the Pixies, the Shins and the Replacements.

Hell Is Other People, Fairmont's third full-length CD is thought provoking and evocative, a concept album loosely based on Jean Paul Sartre's play, No Exit. Man's cruelty toward one another, and the inability to escape this human tendency, is a central theme of both the album and the play. The listener embarks on a journey in which the narrator battles a person he loves ("Your Fan From Far Away") and a person he hates ("The Monster You've Become"), as well as his own self-loathing and disappointment ("Don't Give Up The Ship"). By album's end, the narrator is still incapable of escaping his own hell, much like the characters in Sartre's play.

Released jointly by Reinforcement and Renfield Records, Hell Is Other People will be available for purchase via the internet through Interpunk.com and Smartpunk.com and at retail stores including Bull Moose Music and Newbury Comics.

For more information about Fairmont, please visit their website at www.fairmontmusic.com.