Five Letters From Far Away, the new album from Julia Massey and the Five Finger Discount, is a cosmic pop journey, space exploration through a dance-party sector of the universe. At the helm, Julia;s vocals are uplifting and catchy, and she deftly punches away at the keys to prep us for take-off, while Geoff Gibbs thumps the course on bass, and Dominic Cortese’s drums rocket us out of the atmosphere. Set your phasers to smile, all systems are go.
In Seattle, it can be a bit easy to take the grey skies for granted, but songs like these take us past all the dull, damp, everyday doldrums, and out into the stars beyond. I found myself bobbing my head to all eleven melodic tracks. “Top 100,” kicks of the album at the perfect pace, with a driving, pulsing beat, and really, really interesting melody. I struggled for a while trying to think of a way to describe it… and I’m just going to channel my inner-hippie here: it’s far-out, man. “Who Silently Suffers?” is a Cranberries-esque, dark carnival, while the quiet, acoustic “Here is a Stone Wall” channels the best parts of a Chris Martin lullaby. “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Us (Letter #4)” was one of my favorites, with incredibly catchy vocals, touching and reassuring lyrics to a worried lover, and one killer bass solo (yes, bass!).
The album is a great way for me to kick off the new year. It’s upbeat, heart-warming, and a great soundtrack for our annual trip around the sun on this spaceship Earth. I’m glad Julia and crew call it (and, more specifically, Seattle) home, and I look forward to continue hearing them boldly take their blend of poppy folk-rock to new, melodious frontiers.