(All Album Reviews by jlneudorf)
Farpoint are a progressive rock band hailing from South Carolina and formed in the late ‘90s. In 2005 the band broke up only to reform in 2006 with a fresh outlook and a few new members added to the fold. There had been a few changes through the years but in 2008 Farpoint released Cold Star Quiet Star which many consider to be their best album. Although I have not heard their first three albums or their latest entitled Kindred released in 2011, I can say Cold Star Quiet Star is a real beauty and anyone who digs symphonic and melodic progressive rock needs to check it out.
Founding members Kevin Jarvis (keyboards, acoustic and electric guitars, backing vocals) and Rick Walker (drums) are joined by new members Dean Hallal (lead and backing vocals), Jennifer Meeks (flute, lead and backing vocals) and Frank Tyson (bass and baritone guitars, backing vocals). These players have great chemistry and the musicianship is very good, exactly what we would expect from a seasoned progressive rock band.
Lyrically, there is a spiritual component in these songs and the message is a positive one and judging from the song titles there also seems to be a science fiction theme running through the album.
Musically, the album is very melodic with numerous shifting themes, stop/starts and superb arrangements. The album begins with “Prologue: Call to Arms”, a very solid melodic prog offering with lighter moments showcasing nifty flute work and heavier guitar parts augmented with symphonic keyboards and some stellar soloing. The short “Solar Wind” follows suit with cool spacey synths leading into an upbeat quirky groove and a Celtic tinged melody.
One of the album’s best songs is the multi-dimensional “Red Shift (Alone)”, a ,more poignant offering with excellent vocal harmonies, pastoral classical guitar and fine instrumental play from all of the musicians.
I hear elements of Pink Floyd and Camel in the acoustically driven “Cold Star”. The vocals of jennifer Meeks have a fragile quality that matches well with the pastoral elegance of the music. It is a fine ballad and another album highlight.
The album ends with “Epilogue: Machine Symphony”, a track more electronic in nature and quite different from the rest of the album with an almost Ayreonesque feel.
If you like melodic progressive rock that is both accessible and extremely well played Cold Star Quiet Star will not disappoint. For aficionados of Kansas, Styx, Camel, Pink Floyd and other related bands.