The guys in A Fragile Tomorrow are set to release their fifth CD, Make Me Over, with a show at Redux here in Charleston on Friday, October 23rd. These guys are barely old enough to drink and they are in the process of building a heck of a musical empire.
In the past year they moved to Savannah to help manage the business of the recording studio they co-own with music biz veteran Ted Comerford, signed a record deal with MPress records, toured Europe on one trip that resulted in a live CD from Brussels, and got to do some shows in Israel on another trip. They got invited to play with Indigo Girls, recorded with Joan Baez, and oh yeah, they are in their 20s. Kinda sick if you ask me.
So what is this CD, Make Me Over, like? It is a mix of about 40 years of music in one collection. The signature harmonies of brothers Sean and Dominic Kelly bring obvious comparisons to The Beach Boys. The music pulls from glam rock, power pop, '80s college rock, and folk. I worry a bit that the music will appeal to my generation, and be lost on anyone born in the mid '90s or later. If so, that is a shame. A Fragile Tomorrow should be on regular play at Sirius/XM's "The Spectrum" channel.
The opening track “Make Me Over (Noddy Holder)” is loud, punkish, and yet melodic and complex at the same time. What a great way to introduce the band to new ears. The track features Shaun Rhoades’ driving bass, which sounds like U2’s “Get On Your Boots” as if it was allowed to explode. The band layers keyboards, Brendan Kelly’s guitars, and those sweet harmonies through unusual key changes over that driving bass to masterfully create a song that is an ensemble. If you’re a musician, it’s a surprise to hear a band write something more than a simple melody over the same four chords. People used to write music with this kind of care, but not so much any more.
Make Me Over continues with a mix of ballads, mid tempo songs, and a whole lot of lyrics about finding their place in this world. I hear XTC, Cheap Trick, Elvis Costello and other influences throughout. But again, it is the familial harmonies which set the band apart upon first listen. Take time to listen closer and it’s obvious they did not want to waste a single note on Make Me Over.
The CD closes with Joan Baez and Indigo Girls joining the band on a song written by the Kelly brothers’ cousin, Richard Farina. Consider Baez’s most well known days were in the 1960s; the Indigo Girls were at the top of their popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s; and A Fragile Tomorrow are young kids just getting started. It’s a combination that yielded a warm, full, and familiar close to a praiseworthy CD.
See them Friday October 23rd at Redux. Josh Roberts & the Hinges are opening.