Fathom Lane: Asilomar

Paul Whyte

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve wrote a review. The funny thing about that is that I’ve been dealing with the Reader’s concerts this summer and I’ve been working with musicians every week. Sorry to those who missed the show at Bayfront with Cloud Cult, it went well.
Either way, I do have some albums lined up to review, but none of them will be officially released for a couple of weeks, so this leads me to look at some of the albums I’ve had on the back-burner. As I’ve mentioned, I try to stick to local bands, but every once and awhile I’ll get an album from out of town that seems worth of mentioning. In this case, it’s “Asilomar” from a band called Fathom Lane out of the Twin Cities.

Fathom Lane is one of those bands I’d consider music for musicians. Yeah, it’s experimental alternative, but it remains accessible. This is the kind of music where I imagine the band members including Michael Ferrier, Ashleigh Still, Matt Patrick, Shane Akers, Paul Boblett, Alex Young, and Charlie Peterson, all sitting around a studio throwing around ideas how they are just going to make an awesome album. Maybe I’m wrong, but there is thought put into these tracks. The production and song writing is at a level where you can probably just stop reading this and believe me that this is professional and gorgeous music.

The album opens up with the song “Hung Up & Overdue.” It’s a slick little laid back alternative rock song that immediately draws in the listener. I like not-so-happy music that isn’t a total bummer, and this fits into that fairly well. “We’re overdue for a dream come true/Long time, nothing new,” sings Ferrier in the chorus. There are cool things like slide guitar going on that make the song pretty good, but the breakdown with a horn section around the 3 minute mark, shows that this band intends special things on this album.

This band, while refined and laid back most of the time, they actually know when to make things dramatic at certain points. I really can’t compare this band well to anything else except for maybe certain tracks from Air where they do an actual song rather than go electronic. There’s often some trippy ambient things going on in the back ground, even at face value, it might just be a country song. Not to say that this music is by any means country.

Since I’m mentioning country, I guess it seems fitting to point out the one cover on the album, “Country Roads” by John Denver. This is one the most chill, slowed down and powerful versions of this song you’re likely to ever hear. In this sense, Fathom Lane puts their own mark on the song.
Songs like “Disaster Bird” certainly strikes a chord with the flowing string section. There’s something sentimental in the tracks that holds a feeling of reserved solemness. It’s the last band you’d book along a ska band.
Asilomar creates a weird take on folk, country, electronic, alternative, and a bunch of other things where it becomes really hard for me to really say what is exactly going on. As I’ve already mentioned, it’s all about the production and song writing. All of the nuances of the album will delight the discerning ear. It’s not in your face, but if you allow yourself to fall into what’s happening, it becomes quickly apparent that what is happening is unique while easy to take on, and profound while staying low-key. This isn’t the kind of music you’ll put on at a party, it’s something that is somehow personal and perhaps best experienced through headphones to take it all in.


Paul Whyte

A South Shore native and University of Wisconsin-Superior journalism graduate. Lifelong musician, and former open mic host. Passionate about the music scene and politics.

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