Farrington is the vehicle for Californian James Patrick, and with a little help from a few friends has produced a nigh on perfect rock/pop album.
Written by: Explorer
ALBUM: Saturday In Nowhereland
LABEL: Self Released
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Farrington – vocals, guitar * Marcos de la Cruz – drums * Henry Clift – bass
Additional Musicians: Eric Dover * Roger Joseph Manning Jr * John Easdale * John Auer * Ken Stringfellow * Frankie Siragusa * Tim Smith * Anthony King * Bryan Shaddix * Joe Giddings
TRACK LISTING: 01 Saturday In Nowherland * 02 The Loner * 03 Damsel In Distress * 04 Lessons That My Father Never Told Me * 05 Hello Destiny * 06 Assassins * 07 Emily Lovelight * 08 Turning It Up Too Loud Again * 09 What Would Your Friends Say * 10 Celestial Worlds * 11 A Day At The Beach * 12 Anatomic * 13 The Switchblade Symphony * 14 Rayguns & Robots /Life Is A Stereo * 15 Shooting Aeroplanes With A Laser Gun
An album that has seemingly come out of nowhere (land). I was alerted to its greatness from one of my American friends, who was enthusing about the qualities of this album, and one that would be I was told ‘right up my street’. Well it is. So I set about doing a little background/detective work on James Patrick AKA Farrington and I find he’s been involved in music from the late 70’s.
He’s been working along the way with such musical luminaries such as Roger Joseph Manning Jr (Jellyfish) and Prescott Niles (The Knack), as well as taking a sabbatical around 2008 for 4 years to hone his songwriting skills, and teaching himself to play the bass guitar, piano and drums, and judging by the results here it was time extremely well spent!
This is his fourth album, following on from 2019’s ‘Pictures Of Pretty Things’, released on his own Magic Stone record label, which I have yet to have the pleasure of hearing, but I’m aiming to put that right very soon.
15….yes count ’em, 15 rock/pop gems all clocking in at under 4 minutes, so there’s no fat here, just pure prime cuts.
The opener, and title track comes across with a Jellyfish/Cheap Trick on steroids vibe, which is no real surprise as it features both Roger Joseph Manning Jr and Eric Dover, it’s a sumptuous piece with a great hook and some killer guitar work.
‘The Loner’, again inhabits that fertile territory that Cheap Trick made their own in the mid to late 70’s, with an infectious blend of melody and muscle. ‘Damsel In Distress’ is the lead single and is a driving rock tune, that reminded me of the best works of Roy Wood/The Move, high praise indeed!
‘Lessons That My Father Never Told Me’, swoops and darts, and ‘Hello Destiny’ has a frantic, somewhat breathless delivery, but then ‘Assassins’ has an air of pomp and circumstance that evoked memories of Queen, and New England particularly with its use of dynamics.
‘Emily Lovelight’ is a song that dates back to 2012, with a cracking slightly effete vocal delivery from Patrick and hits the spot with its Cheap Trickisms, and at times a bit of ELO thrown in for good measure.
‘Turning It Up Too Loud Again’, has a definite Beatles thing going on, particularly in how the vocals on the track are utilised, and ‘What Would Your Friends Say’, is Power Pop personified, and is reminiscent of one of this year’s other pop/rock sensations, Brit rockers Tremendous.
‘Celestial Worlds’ is a mainly keyboard-driven song and it’s a very atmospheric and thoughtful piece, one of my many personal highlights of the album, and then the album does a 180 with the almost Grunge/Punk trio of ‘A Day At The Beach’, ‘Anatomic’ and ‘The Switchblade Symphony’ but with all 3 still holding onto that all-important melody at their very core.
‘Rayguns & Robots/Life Is A Stereo’ is Farrington’s homage to Sweet, and comes complete with its own take on the classic ‘Fox On The Run’ keyboard intro, and needless to say it’s a winner all the way. The album is rounded off with wonderfully titled ‘Shooting Aeroplanes With A Laser Gun’, and was never going to let the side down with, once more a gritty pop-rocker and an unerring sense of melody.
The album production is big and bold with an Arena size sheen, and some of the performances from the players are terrific, in particular drummer Marcos de la Cruz (who incidentally co-produces the album) and bassist Henry Clift holding the bottom end together, whilst the additional musicians weave their magic over the top of Farmington’s excellent vocals and carefully crafted songs.
Farrington makes no secret of his influences Cheap Trick, ELO, Sweet and even the Stone Temple Pilots, and does wear them proudly on his sleeve, but that doesn’t mean to say that the music here is in any way derivative, far from it in fact. It’s fresh and contemporary and very 2020. Simply put a stunning success!
You know I’d just finished writing up my end of year best of, but I’ve now having a major rethink as this album has ploughed up most, if not all the opposition, and that’s some feat as there have been some stellar releases this year. At the moment the album is available through the official Bandcamp site as a digital download, but I understand there will be a vinyl version coming very soon.