CD Review: Mike Farley Band “Where We Stand”

Back in the nineties, Long Island native Mike Farley made his way to Cleveland, Ohio. After releasing two albums under his own name, Farley met and joined up with guitarist Jeff Nagle, bassist Jeff Beam and drummer Joe Rohan. Together, the band became known as the Mike Farley Band. As the Mike Farley Band, the group would release the 2000 album halfaworldaway, an album that ranks as perhaps the best album that Farley has released. While promoting halfaworldaway, the Mike Farley Band would become one of the top drawing local acts in the Greater Cleveland area. Soon, however, things changed and the band would go their separate ways as Farley wanted to focus his energy on running his public relations company, Michael J. Media.

After over a decade apart, the four musicians who once made up the Mike Farley Band decided to start writing together as a group once again. Though the musicians were now spread out in different cities throughout the country, a new album ended up being created…with a lot of help from Skype.

Recently, the Mike Farley Band announced the release of their new album. That album is entitled Where We Stand.

The long-awaited new album from the Mike Farley Band begins with the track “Rewrite History”. From the very first notes of the song, longtime fans of the band will instantly recognize the signature sound of the band. The upbeat pop-rock music of the track will immediately take the listener back to the late nineties, early 2000s. While the band was originally together, they had a sound that would have easily fit in with anything on Top 40 radio formats. With the inclusion of Scott Martin’s keyboards on the track, “Rewrite History” will bring to mind bands like Goo Goo Dolls, Counting Crows and other bands that were popular on the radio before the turn of the millennium. “Rewrite History” is the perfect track to either bring the listener back to when the Mike Farley Band was at its peak; or, the track is the perfect way to introduce new listeners to what was once one of the biggest local bands in the Cleveland music scene.

Where We Stand continues with the track “Subtle No More,” a track that feels as if it would have fit perfectly on Farley’s 1999 release entitled On the Edge of Somewhere. The steady pace of the music seems to work well with the lyrics about seeing signs that do nothing but bring back memories better left behind. While the first track of “Rewrite History” finds the band creating something that is very similar to what had come before on halfaworldaway, “Subtle No More” is musically and lyrically so familiar in its sound that it feels like something that never got released when the band was together.

After three tracks that feature an upbeat, yet moderate pace to the music, the Mike Farley Band picks up steam with the track “Pay Your Dues”. With the song, the band adds a lot more energy to their sound. The faster pace of the music is matched with lyrics about pulling your own weight and relying less upon others. The strong message and strong energy to the music work well together to get a point across.

The song “I Don’t know” shows off the talents of the band members of the Mike Farley band as the band changes directions for the track. The slower tempo and easier pace of the song brings to mind something form AM radio in the seventies. The resulting Lite Rock song features lyrics about coming to terms with where a relationship is going. While not too overly romantic, the track does feel very reminiscent of older songs from Mike Farley, proving that Farley hasn’t changed his style all that much over the years.

For one song, Mike Farley takes the music back to the feel of his 2007 solo acoustic release of Moments and Memories. The new track of “Weight of the World” features mainly Farley and his acoustic guitar, with only some keyboards in the background. The simple guitar part and light keyboards give the song a much different feel from the rest of the release.

Where We Stand, the new album from the Mike Farley Band, comes to an end with the track “Rain”. The track begins with a slow pace to the rock and roll music with the unmistakable sound of the e-bow leading the way. The unique sound of the instrument adds an element to the band’s music that has never been there before. With the addition of the e-bow, the track feels like a combination of something from the Mike Farley Band mixed with something from Scottish rockers Big Country. Ultimately, the feel of the song takes the music of the Mike Farley Band in a completely different direction than fans of the band are used to, making it easily the most unique track on the 2016 release.

After more than a decade apart, the Mike Farley Band returns with Where We Stand. The return release finds the band maintaining much of their style that existed all those years ago. What was there in the nineties is still there to be rediscovered by the band’s old fanbase. And for those about to discover the group with this release, Where We Stand is the perfect chance to find out what you have missed out on.

Click on the album cover below in order to link to the release:

Mike Farley Band | Where We Stand