If you’re from a state where the scenery looks very much like a watercolor painting, it’s almost mandatory that any music coming out of such locations should translate the same type of imagery. Enter Blue Lane Frontier, a five piece from Fort Collins, Colorado, whose latest release, 2016’s No Big Fuss, does just that.
Featuring 12 tracks reminiscent of songs released by Gainesville, FL based No Idea Records back in the early 2000’s, Blue Line Frontier find kindred spirits in bands like Lemuria, Fifth Hour Hero and even the early stages of Against Me. However, the band still delivers a captivating sound that proves it’s possible to use musical inspiration yet remain solely individual.
Keyboardist Emily Vavra described the band as “Indie-folk-whatever the hell you wanna call it”, and after hearing both No Big Fuss and their earlier EP Courtyard, it’s an analysis that’s hard to argue against. Pairing overly intelligent lyrics with a “trail mix” of up tempo styles ranging from rock to folk, Blue Lane Frontier are a musical conundrum (but in the best way possible).
From the slightly off harmony vocals on the in-your-face ‘Squirrel’, to the bass heavy, chest beating track ‘Jack’s Smirking Revenge’, Blue Lane Frontier makes it difficult to pinpoint any lone influence. Instead they offered change after beautiful change through 12 mostly fun and playful tracks, while still managing,at times, to captivate my inner soul. The elegantly sung ‘North Twin Waltz’, in particular, literally prompted the goose bumps to rise on both my arms as I was taken by my favorite line of the album;
“Puzzle piece underneath buried into the soft shore / Wading deeper and deeper I lose my sure footing / Rush back to your weathered chair, bury my face in your hair Chestnut curls keep me warm”
The album forges on with ‘Robert Fulton’s Monster’; a track that rocks like Straylight Run, while ‘Much Thanks’ hits so hard it would make Gunmoll or Hot Water Music proud.
The album ends with the wonderful ‘Lucille’; a soft hearted piece dedicated to a former neighbour who, after losing her hearing, refused to give up singing the songs she loved despite her tone deaf renditions.
In the 45 minutes I spent listening to this album, my emotions changed as much as Blue Lane Frontier change styles; constantly. From happy and heartfelt, to hopeful and entertained. My only complaint is that title is incredibly unfitting; No Big Fuss should actually be considered a really, really big one.
No Big Fuss is out now via the band’s official bandcamp.