Anyone who’s carefully followed Falling Up’s discography will likely note 2008’s singles collection Discover the Trees Again was simultaneously the end of an era and the start of an incredibly exciting new chapter. Though the Jessy Ribordy-led outfit is certainly proud of projects like 2004’s Crashings, 2005’s Dawn Escapes, 2006’s Exit Lights and 2007’s Captiva, its forthcoming offering Fangs (BEC Recordings) maintains hints of the band’s alternative/electronic rock blend, but raises the artistic steak so to speak on both musical and lyrical planes.
“We’re definitely in a transitional mode right now and I feel like the greatest hits disc wrapped up one half of our careers,” observes Ribordy, whose confident the stylistic shifts will captivate its current fan base, but also widen the audience to more adventurous heights. “We’re really focusing a lot on every angle of the group- from the studio to reinventing the live show. Back when we first started, we were going crazy the whole time and doing back flips, but the last couple years, we’ve been very jam-oriented, spending six or seven minutes messing around like Pink Floyd.”
Taking cues from those very progressive rock heroes, along with current masterminds like The Mars Volta, Fangs dives head first in a conceptual direction where each and every instrument, lyric and line of vocal delivery revolves around an intriguing world of fiction and fantasy. While previous Falling Up projects have traced more personal sides of Ribordy’s songwriting, this collection was inspired from his other life as a screen play writer, particularly the yet to be released script “Neptuenne’s Cavern.”
“The inspiration for the name ‘Fangs’ came from the narrator’s opening words ‘”from one small and seemingly insignificant action, comes a vast and infinite world of reaction,’” relates Ribordy. “In other words, Fangs sums up a very reactive type of scenario. We often think of Fangs relating to snakes or poison, which represent the idea of biting and damage. It’s a very reaction-based record where something is always happening. Whether it be good or bad, it’s always significant.”
Of course, the vivid metaphors on Falling-Up's Fangs draw poetic parallels to spirituality, not in the more overt ways of earlier albums, but still unquestionably anchored in faith. Ribordy is quick to point out that introspection and expressiveness doesn’t just have to come from a three minute pop song, but can perhaps be even more productive in increasingly epic formats.
“For me, imagination is revealing parts of my mind that I didn’t even know existed, which is certainly part of God’s overall creation,” he clarifies. “Sure, mythology has generally been controlled from a secular standpoint because of vast interpretations, but I realized now more than ever that when you use your imagination, you can find God even more than if you’re just painting by the numbers as a songwriter. My journey into this world of fiction is very spiritual, and while there’s not much symbolism in my own life, you can still see how these ideas in general affect my life and other people’s lives.”
As for the musical component of Fangs, expect a fairly organic album filled with lots of personally programmed synths and ambient guitars. Whereas Captiva was very loop aligned and distortion driven, the new tunes are more organic but even more “in your face,” according to Ribordy. There’s also elevated musicality on all levels thanks to multi-instrumentalist/producer Casey Crescenzo (who the front man previously worked with in the bluegrass side project The River Empires).
Given its natural tendency towards abstract comparisons to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon or The Mars Volta’s The Bedlam in Goliath, Fangs also has considerable general market appeal that falls well outside the lines of clichéd Christian music. In fact, Falling Up hopes to raise the bar for the faith-based community, both in excellent artistic execution and mainstream perception.
“We’ve always felt like outcasts in the general market and a lot of that has to do with the direct marketing of our music in the past to Christian radio, which makes Falling Up seem somewhat secluded,” observes Ribordy. “But Fangs allows people to have a little more freedom with the band where they will hopefully really like the record because of the music or concept and not get caught up in a stereotype of what they think it will mean before they even hear it. We’re also hoping to challenge the Christian side of the industry to see that something fictional can still be spiritually inspired and effective at connecting with people.”
In early 2010, Falling Up announced that they would go on a "permanent break":
“I have gotten quite a bit of email in the last six months of questions regarding the future of Falling Up. And rightly so, for we have been extremely seldom with our updates and news. So I figured I owe it to all of you, and myself, to clear things up.
After touring extensively since we were 19 and 20 year olds, the lot of us have diverged into other areas in our lives and drifted away from the group known as Falling Up. In other, more simpler words, we are taking a permanent break. I hate using the word “breaking up” cause that always reminds me of my high school prom night! ( kidding ). Actually, if I can remember correctly, my prom date was a rad girl and I had a lot of fun getting down on the dance floor to “Baby’s Got Back” and slow dancing to the Armageddon theme song “Don’t Wan’t to Miss a Thing”. Sorry, I’m getting off track.
It’s been a good journey and thank you so much for your continued support throughout the years. We look forward to all of you finding us in our other projects and aspirations in life. Love all of you and God Bless. "
-vocalist Jessy Ribordy
|Dawn Escapes||2005||BEC Recordings|
|Exit Lights||2006||BEC Recordings|
|Dawn Escapes||2007||BEC Recordings|
|Discover the Trees Again: The Best of Falling Up||2008||BEC Recordings|
|Your Sparkling Death Cometh||2011||Independent|