Fort Frances – Harbour EP
If you’ve never heard a Fort Frances song before, then you may not be fully aware who your favorite band is. Fort Frances has always been one of those bands that people tend to fall in love with very quickly. The band is comprised of three likable guys from Chicago; David McMillin (guitar, vocals, keys), Jeff Piper (bass, vocals, keys), and Aaron Kiser (drums, vocals). From their debut album, Atlas, to their new EP, Harbour, Fort Frances seems to generate cult followings with ease.
I think one of the reasons the band attracts such avid followers, is because of their raw emotional honesty. The guys of Fort Frances seem to have a way of tapping into their emotions and expressing them honestly through song. This is something that is not easily done and requires a personal attachment from every member of the band. Yet, it only seems to make sense that the guys of Fort Frances would be able to deliver an EP as honest as Harbour, when one considers the personal investment each member of the trio offered up. Every song on the EP is a harmony-filled adaptation of a McMillin original; the appropriately cool album art is the product of Piper; and the warm production and mixing is a direct result of Kiser’s labor.
The album sounds somewhat like the lovechild between Wilco and Band of Horses. Harmonies abound throughout the endearing EP, that doesn’t hesitate to play to rock and roll’s melodic side. I am tempted to refer to this EP as melancholy but that wouldn’t be completely accurate. While the album certainly has a good deal of melancholy undertones, this does not define it, not completely. The darker parts of the album such as the ones heard in the down-tempo song “Please Don’t Wait Up,” seem to celebrate a kind of happiness that can only be found through an appreciation for sadness. This when coupled with the upbeat, foot-stomping, jubilant sounds of “I Had Love,” the final song on the EP, leave the listener feeling upbeat and rejuvenated.
The EP was inspired by a winter the band spent next to Lake Michigan. This can be heard throughout, as cool notes and heavy drum hits reminisce on a cold winter. Fort Frances’ Harbour is to winter, what Jack Johnson’s 2005 album, In Between Dreams, is to summer. Every season needs an anthem and Fort Frances has created winter’s anthem.
Harbour, should appeal to anyone who appreciates good, honest music. The band is destined for great things as their constantly increasing popularity is aided in part by a strong, rapidly growing cult fan base. If you have the time, I strongly urge you to checkout Fort Frances; however, you might need to free up some space on your iPod, because once you’ve listened to them, it’s hard to stop.