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Reviews of FAIRMONT's 5th LP "Transcendence" Mint 400 Records

"Fairmont is indie rock we should all be thankful for"
- Amp Magazine #34 Aug 08

"love will overcome the existential angst of being. Whether or not that’s what you think, you will enjoy this pop/rock album; it’s expertly crafted and precisely written. Easily the best Fairmont has produced."
-Stephen Carradini | Independent Clauses.com

"capable musicianship and honed songwriting chops at the helm. It’s a combination that has led plenty of bands to success, and judging what they give us here, Fairmont deserves to follow that lead.....Overall, I’ve got to tell you, I like Fairmont quite a bit."
-Taylor Kingsbury | MishMash Magazine

"Musically the band has always been tight, but with Transcendence, Fairmont takes great strides forward in terms of songwriting. Songs of disillusion and despair have long defined the band, and their latest record is not likely to change those impressions, but the organ-heavy track "Everyone Hates A Critic" and the sing-along "Being & Nothingness" are certain to win over a few more fans. Negativity never sounded so good."
-John B. Moore | Innocent Words Magazine

""Transcendence" transcends into another classification of indie rock. You see many bands that have the makings of what Fairmont possesses, but they are unable to piece it all together in a way that makes you think, "wow this is something special." Which this album does."
- Derek | SkylinePress.net

"Fairmont’s new album Transcendence has imaginative turns, emotive lifts, and a folksy rock basting relatable to Modest Mouse."
-Susan Frances | AbsolutePunk.net

"The band's sound reminds me of a mix between the Smoking Popes, the Prom (especially due to the frequent use of bouncy keyboards) and a little bit of Fountains Of Wayne (particularly in "Prick"), mixing a crunchy guitar sound with occasional fuzzy synths... digging deeper into the album proved rewarding, with favorites including "Luck Will Change", "True Love Waits For Me" and the final track, "Melt Your Heart", which is an uplifting tune whose outro contains echoes of the coda from the disc's opener."
-Chris McFarlane | Indie Pages.com

"the band has crafted songs with a real beat to them, tunes that you’ll be singing along to, even before you know the words."
-Matt Merritt | Subba-Cultcha.com

"Fairmont has encountered more than its fair share of setbacks and catastrophes, from multiple lineup changes to all the usual calamities that befall DIY bands. But with its fifth full-length release, perhaps the band has found the traction it needs to move forward in the indie underground."
-Jim Testa | JerseyBeat.com

"STOP reading now, buy three copies of this album and enjoy the shit out of them"
- Jack Gregory | ReaxMusic.com - Amp, Indie Pages, Jersey Beat, MishMash and more...

Fairmont Transcends their previous work.
written by Stephen Carradini on Jan.09, 2009
I’ve followed Fairmont through three full-length albums and an EP. It’s not a surprise to me that Transcendence, the fifth full-length by Neil Sabatino and Co. that I’ve had the privilege of reviewing, improves on their last work musically. This is a trend they have continued (with only the occasional slip-up) since the beginning of their time as a band. The startling thing about Transcendence is the fact that everything else about the album is amazing as well.

Not to knock on Fairmont’s previous work (you will find my glowing reviews of their previous work if you search), but it always fell just short of that thing that kept it playing in my CD player. Maybe the lyrics were horribly morose. The song order was sketchy. Sometimes the songs had great parts and regrettable parts mashed next to each other. Transcendence fixes all these problems and creates a total album.

Yes, Transcendence should be played front to back each time, because the song order matters. The album has an ebb and flow that would be totally lost in a pick-and-choose listening. The songs of Transcendence seem autobiographical in the best sense: the album feels chronological, as if I were reading a book about Neil Sabatino. This, again, is due to the song order, which places a discussion of his childhood spent in an apocalyptic commune first. The bizarre conduct of the cult sets the stage for the skepticism and existentialism that characterize the rest of the album. It’s easy to draw connections in all of the other songs from points within the first song (the easiest being a reprise of the bridge in the last song, with more obscure references and touchpoints throughout). In short, the lyrics and song order suck me into a world that I inhabit for forty minutes. Seeing as Sabatino’s existentialism is completely counter to my Christian worldview, my total immersement in the ideas and themes of the album while I’m hearing it is a compliment to the descriptive and impassioned quality of the lyrics.

But it’s not just the lyrics that make tunes like “Everyone Hates a Critic” and “Luck Will Change” into the outstanding pieces of music they are. Highlight “Everyone Hates a Critic” has an incredibly interesting rhythmic pattern and a neat chord progression. It’s hard to not like it. “Luck Will Change,” while being the bleakest on the album, lyrically, is pretty upbeat and fun. Both songs feature piano/synths, which is a new thing for Fairmont, and it’s a very good thing.

In terms of rocking, “Omaha” wins. It has a raucous riff, a sinister mood, and a vaguely surf-rock mood. I sing it when it comes up on the album. “Melt Your Heart” is also pretty punked-out for being a love song.

“Melt Your Heart” ends with the bridge from the first song “Being and Nothingness,” as the male and female vocalists declare their love for each other over the repeated group-sing of “aimless!” It’s the transcendence that Fairmont named the album after; love will overcome the existential angst of being. Whether or not that’s what you think, you will enjoy this pop/rock album; it’s expertly crafted and precisely written. Easily the best Fairmont has produced. - Stephen Carradini - Independent Clauses

"rocking, paranoid, i love it, the video gives me the creeps for a minute there, but great ending. anyway, right on in my book"
- Matthew Caws (Nada Surf)

"They're pretty rad"
- Mark Hoppus (+44)

"Fairmont's new record, Wait and Hope, is beautiful. It has a unique way of being both dark and hopeful at the same time."
- Tyler Pursel (Gym Class Heroes & Ladybirds)

- Various


Full Lengths:

The Meadow at Dusk
September 2009
Produced by Bryan Russell
Mint 400 Records

October 2008
Produced by Bryan Russell
Guest Vocals By Teeter Sperber, Matt Zugale, Bryan Russell & Suzie Zeldin
Euphonium By Charlie Seich
Violin, Viola, Cello By Clancy Flynn
Mint 400 Records

Wait & Hope
July 2007
Produced By Dean Baltulonis
Guest Vocals By Teeter Sperber of Ley Royal Scam on Tracks 4,7,8
GFB Records

Hell Is Other People
February 2005, produced by Dave Debiak
Renfield / Reinforcement Records

December 2003, Produced by Antonio Valenti & Neil Sabatino
Reinforcement Records

Pretending Greatness is Awaiting, Vol 1&2
December 2001, Produced by Antonio Valenti & Neil Sabatino
Reinforcement Records


The Subtle Art Of Making Enemies, 3 song EP
Feburary 2006, Produced by Neil Sabatino
Renfield Records

February 2003, Produced by Antonio Valenti & Neil Sabatino

The Hand That Hold's The Knife Must Be Cold And Steady. 5 song EP
November 2002, Produced by Antonio Valenti & Neil Sabatino
Reinforcement Records

Fairmont/ The MPS/ American Degen. 3 Way EP
August 2001, Produced by Antonio Valenti & Neil Sabatino
Reinforcement Records

Maxwells Feb. 2004 (Available @Itunes)
Maxwells Dec. 2004 (Available @Itunes)

Fairmont: The Bootleg Series Volume 1
Live Recordings 2002-2006
Released March 08

Fairmont: Covers & B Sides
Covers and B Sides spanning 2002-2007
Includes covers of The Replacements, Failure, Beck and more
Released March 08

Fairmont: The Reinforcement Years
A Collection of EP's 2002-2003
Over 20 Previously Unreleased Songs
Released March 08

Fairmont: Acoustic
6 Acoustic songs recorded 2004-2008
Live, radio sessions and home demos
Released November 08

Additional Recordings:
Neil Sabatino appears on the Creep Records release
Ladybirds on the song "Lady of Leisure and Travel"

Neil Sabatino Produced the 5 song EP
"Toast to the Apocalypse" by Theodore Grimm



Neil Sabatino: Vocals & Guitar
Andy Applegate: Drums & Percussion
Christian Kisala: Pianet, Synths & Percussion
Sam Carradori: Backing Vocals & Percussion
* Clancy Flynn: Violin

" Life Begins on the other side of despair." -Sartre
"We must be dead because this sure feels like hell" - N. Sabatino

THE (obligatory and pretentious) BAND BIOGRAPHY

This all sounds kind of nice, like maybe there was a plan, but in actuality it all played out more like Spinal Tap.Neil Sabatino started playing guitar in the early nineties, before myspace hit counters and “LOL OMG I LOVE [Insert Band Name Here]” Facebook Groups.
Those were the days (supposedly) of street cred and artistic integrity. Neil found himself with plenty of both those thing, playing with a couple of popular bands with people that would later make lots of money. He first established himself in punk outfit Stick Figure Suicide (who appeared with the Bouncing Souls, Saves the Day, AntiFlag, H20, blah, blah, blah) and played on the Vans Warped Tour. Eventually, he joined NJ indie rock staplesPencey Prep, playing alongside future My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero. It wasn’t long before they were signed to Eyeball Records and playing high profile shows with Thursday, Nada Surf, and The Strokes. They also played the inaugural New Jersey Surf and Skate Fest with New Found Glory and Brand New in front of 4,000 fans. Basically, they were starting to feel like rock stars and had a nice list of names to drop. But just as they could taste success (oh, sweet success--it melts on your tongue!) the band began to fall apart. Touring, disputes within the band, tensions with the label,all embittered Sabatino as he watched Pencey Prep implode.

From the burning wreckage of Sabatino’s former band a phoenix arose, and while Neil scoffed at this imagery, he named this fledgling bird Fairmont. Neil wrote songs thematically influenced by his disillusionment and began to experiment and grow musically, applying ideas he learned at art school to his music and developing his philosophy of “less is more.” It was this technique that allowed him to create material refreshingly different from the three chord and melodic emo being recorded at the time. Fairmont (which was at that point a solo acoustic project) was signed to Reinforcement Records in August 2001.Once a band was assembled, Fairmont released their debut LP Pretending Greatness is Awaiting. Their second album, Anomie, appeared in 2003 and featured current drummer Andy Applegate. It received some local airplay anddid well online, but it was Fairmont’s 2005 album Hell Is Other People (produced by New London Fire/Sleep Station front man Dave Debiak) that received the most attention. The album’s adoption of existentialist philosophy ironically garnered them the most popularity; it was in regular rotation on several college radio stations and received the occasional spinon huge commercial stations like Q104.3 in New York and even a live set on G Rock 106.3 in New Jersey. Some people in the press wrote about Fairmont like they were some new pantheon of indie rock gods. Case in point:

“A strong confident, self-assured, commercially accessible effort from an outstanding young band just beginning to hit its creative stride…”
-The Aquarian Arts Weekly

“The only good thing to come out of New Jersey (other then Bruce
-The Portland Phoenix

The band was flattered and made these quotes readily accessible
2006 saw Fairmont on the road, playing in progressively larger rooms throughout the Northeast and Midwest and venturing to the West Coast for dates in Seattle and Portland. After releasing The Subtle Art of Making Enemies, an EP, Fairmont decided to work with producer Dean Baltulonis (TheHold Steady, The Explosion, Paint It Black) to record their next album Wait& Hope. This LP was an autobiographical history of Fairmont’s career reflected in dark pop songs about revenge and bitterness, love destructed,
and confrontation with one’s demons and enemies. It was also the prelude toa darker time.

In 2007, Fairmont was looking back on a productive year. Touring more then ever before and even headlining at the famed 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis, Fairmont continued to build a following of loyal fans across the nation and put together their first street team. Highlights of the year included many successful radio appearances along with taping an episode of FOX TV’s Fearless Music. The band also put out buzzworthy music videos. “Suspicion Haunts the Guilty Mind” portrayed a stalker situation; Nada Surf front-man Matthew Caws responded: “Rocking, paranoid, I love it”. Their
second video was an epic sock puppet Bonnie and Clyde story which ended with a puppet massacre. Oh yes, gentle readers, a puppet massacre.

After a series of near-disastrous events, including tornadoes on tour and the departure of a long time band member, Fairmont regrouped and started fresh in 2008 with a new lineup an