Make Me Over

A Fragile Tomorrow

MPress Records, 2015

http://afragiletomorrow.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/27/2016

Though the Hudson Valley quartet A Fragile Tomorrow handled engineering and producing duties on their own on this fifth album, they mixed it with Grammy winning producer Malcolm Burn (Emmylou Harris). Of course, the band aren't any strangers to collaborating with notable names, as they work with Joan Baez, as well as members of Crowded House, The Bangles, The Beach Boys and Indigo Girls on Make Me Over.

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A Fragile Tomorrow's home on their new label finds the band exploring new territory with a sonic quality that stylistically pays homage to David Bowie while also touching on influences like Cheap Trick and The Who. Yeah, it's guitar rock, the kind that is all too absent in modern bands, and it is as fantastic as it is nostalgic.

"Make Me Over (Noddy Holder)" starts the album off right with an explosion of melody and guitar crunch, reminding us of (early) Coldplay and Weezer flexing their muscles. "Tie Me Up Again" follows and brings us closer to post-punk while still staying on par with the sort of rock that could fill stadiums, and "Billion" finds the band getting softer and lush before fleshing out into a pensive rock anthem. The band wears their influences on their sleeves on the soaring on "One Of Two," Two Three" which brings in horns and a definite Beach Boys nod, though that's really only the starting point of the artists A Fragile Tomorrow will tip their hat to.

Near the middle, the drums come to the forefront with the dynamic and incendiary "Tell Me How To Feel" before the pace slows down on the ballad-esque "In My Mind." If it wasn’t already apparent that the band could be huge, the radio-friendly "Hit Parade" with its infectious chorus and jumpy instrumentation could easily launch the band into stardom.

Near the end, the affair stays upbeat and quick with the glam feel of "Can't You Hear Me?", and then closes out with a cover of "One Way Ticket." The longest song on the disc, it's over five minutes of soulful, psych-filled grooves with help from Joan Baez and Indigo Girls and uses a mandolin strategically and memorably.

If bands like R.E.M., T Rex, or Elvis Costello were reinterpreting today's version of pop rock, A Fragile Tomorrow would be the result.

Rating: A-

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