In 2010 The Fontanelles comprised of Dave Mehling, Darin Rieland, Beau Jeffrey and Jason Mcglone formed. It took awhile to get there but the band released their debut Strangers Please Take Care this year. The band did it right as you can tell that these songs weren’t just thrown together. They also happened to have the album professionally recorded, mixed and mastered.
If you were looking for quick comparisons the most obvious would be Wilco in a number of ways. Like Wilco the band utilizes a lot of clean guitar, have a warm Americana feel and the lead singer has some resemblance to Jeff Tweedy. I don’t know how much influence Wilco has on The Fontanelles but the tip of the hat seems obvious to anyone who has spent time with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot or A Ghost Is Born. At the end of the day the Wilco similarities, which seem apparent from time to time are the only slight issue I could see adversely affecting the band because everything else is exceptional.
The songs are consistently good from beginning to end with a superb ebb and flow. Up first is “I Am The One” which starts off with a piano and vocals leading the drive. It’s heartfelt, warm and immediately easy to enjoy. The song makes a change that took me by surprise. It reminded me of Jon Lennon's solo material. It transitions into a fantastic instrumental part involving guitar, horns and exceptional drumming. Great opener.
“Don't Be So Beautiful” is straight up apple pie Americana. It’s a song with infectious vocals and killer riffs. “Call Me Later” is another song that just feels so warm and heartfelt like the songs that came before. The band gets groovin’ at times I wasn't expected which added more allure to the band.
The next song that stuck out to me was “Emily” not only because it was well written but arguably the most original sounding song. I thought the minimal beginning revolving around guitar and vocal was good but the transition into a cascading waterfall of instrumentation was great. The last song I need to mention is the seven-plus-minute “Stranger.” I’ll say that the song goes into a number of areas with the peak being the bluegrass/country inspired hoedown.
Overall, Strangers Please Take Care is a great debut from a band that has a boatload of potential. Recommended.
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