Farmhouse Odyssey was formed by five college students in a small farmhouse in the fall of 2012 in Arcata, California. Inspired by the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, the band developed an original sound and style influenced by progressive rock, psychedelia, jazz and world music. The band attempts to leave genres and create original music without boundaries. For now their music is available digitally for free on the BandCamp website. But the band was so kind to provide progVisions with a physical promo copy of their latest album Rise of the Waterfowl.
Alex Espe - vocals, keyboards; Thatcher Holvick-Norton - drums; Aaron Laughlin - vocals, guitar; Alex Pepe - guitar; Ian Taylor - bass
After a self titled debut album (2015), “Rise of the Waterfowl” (2016) is their second release. The album opens with a track called “Daybreak”. It has a beautiful quite and slow atmospheric opening. The song develops into a nice piece of music with influences of jazz and the Canterbury scene. You can find some fine vocal harmonies in this fine album opener. This is possible because the band has with keyboard player Alex Espe and guitar player Aaron Laughlin also two fine vocalists on board. The band is working towards a climax with a great and freaky synth solo.
“Slumberless Sun” with it’s delicious bass line and beautiful vocals has several rhythm changes and some tasteful keyboard parts with a cinematic character. “Brain Song” has a lovely keyboard opening and has more the character of an ballad. But influences from jazz and the Canterbury scenes are not far away. Because of the beautiful atmospheres and the diversity this song grows towards one of my personal favorites. Beautiful song!
The strong point of the music of Farmhouse Odyssey is that the band manage to develop all those influences into a melting pot that sounds original and unique. They have developed their own style or trademark. Just listen to the wonderful track “Calligraphy”. “Space Revealed” is another highlight. The opening with the piano and the guitar reminds me of the work of the Pat Metheny Group when pianist Lyle Mays was still a member of that band. This is followed by jazz fusion parts with the Fender Rhodes, the drums and the guitar in the lead.
“Shipwreck” is again one of those tracks with beautiful vocal parts and a jazzy atmosphere. Towards the end the intensity of the music is building up towards a kind of climax. The ending is very beautiful. The longest track of the album is called “Speedbump Catalyst” And is divided into the parts “Upon the Wheel”, “Blessing in Disguise”, “Energetic Tides” and “The Road Alone”. It is a long and diverse piece of music with a modest atmosphere.. The piano work of Alex Espe and the vocal harmonies are standing out in this beautiful song. Suddenly I remember that other American band with those interesting vocal parts ... Echolyn. The interacting between the electric guitar (solo) and the piano in the for last part is great. When other keyboards are added to the musical palette the music develops into a great piece of progressive rock. The last part is at first more mellow and jazz oriented but in the end the progressive vibes returns. The short track “Safe Passage” is a beautiful piano piece with a delicate keyboard strings accompaniment. Those beautiful keyboard strings can also be found in the last track “From The Might Sky”.
“Rise of the Waterfowl” is an interesting album made by a group of talented and skilled young musicians. There are a lot of influences from jazz, but I think that the music is also influenced by the Canterbury scene. This has not only to do with the choice of instruments and sounds but also because of the fine and often melodic vocal parts. This said the music of Farmhouse Odyssey sounds unique ... the band is definitely developing their own style. If you are open minded and like influences from jazz in your Prog, you know what to do.