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Album Review

The debut full-length by the New Frontiers single-handedly does much to reclaim the better aspects of the term "emo" from the rafts of soundalike eyelinered mall punk bands who have watered down its usefulness as a genre description. As melancholy but oddly appealing as a middle-American version of post-Coldplay U.K. mope-pop acts like Keane or Doves, the New Frontiers' musical focus throughout Mending is on pretty, melodic, low-key songs with just a hint of a country influence in the occasional fiddle or pedal steel part. (Think Cursive or Low, not Wilco.) Singer/songwriter Nathan Pettijohn's hushed, intimate vocals are the primary focal point of every song, bringing an engaging warmth to his fairly plain-spoken, medium-angsty lyrics. The album is front-loaded with a pair of early winners, "Black Lungs" and "Man Down," that bring a stronger measure of passion and kinetic energy than the rest of the album's 11 songs. But while it's a bit of a shame that the rest of the album keeps the tempos slow and the emotions at a bare simmer instead of mixing the moods a bit more, songs like "Mirrors" and the sparse, acoustic "Spirit and Skin" are solid enough to keep Mending from sounding too samey.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Formed in Dallas, TX, by lead singer and guitarist Nathan Pettijohn, bassist Ryan Henry, guitarist Jacob Chaney, keyboardist Guy Turner, and drummer Alex Bhore, all Dallas natives, the New Frontiers were originally called Stellamaris and self-released an EP under that name in 2006 before changing their name. Specializing in an atmospheric blend of indie pop with alt-country leanings, the newly christened band released a second EP, Tour, in 2007 before signing with...
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Mending, The New Frontiers
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