Jessy Ribordy - vocals
Jeremy Miller - bass, keyboards
Josh Shroy - drums
Falling Up have grown accustomed to lofty expectations. After all, their debut LP Crashings exploded on impact, landing numerous chart-topping Rock and CHR singles (including R&R Rock song of the year) and selling over 100,000 copies. The bar was immediately set at a height few could aspire to, and fewer still could eclipse. Yet, they followed with 2005´s Dawn Escapes, a record that not only achieved similar accolades but demonstrated that the band had grown exponentially, and that frontman Jessy Ribordy was a multi-faceted songwriter, lyricist and frontman--a true champion of his craft. The sophomore release was greeted with rave reviews, established the band as a career outfit, and propelled their already-high standard into the stratosphere. Yet, on the eve of their thrid LP, Captiva, Ribordy has set his crosshairs on a new vision, one no less lofty, yet even more vital than anything he has accomplished previously:
"Through the process of creating this record we came to realize all of this--the songs, the band--is about God using us inside my weakness. Over last couple of years we have experienced new challenges and trying experiences, and we began to question how God would use me in the midst of all of it. Then we realized his grace is so much larger than we can comprehend. It´s vast. And in knowing this we learned that he can use us in the middle of our weakness, that it´s less about what we are doing and more about what he is doing. If we can communicate this through what we do, and if people can grab ahold of this concept, it will mean so much more to us than any other accomplishment."
Captiva is a three-dimensional, dynamic exercise in melodic heavy rock with emotion like you have never felt from Falling Up. Whereas their previous material excelled in the punchy, pop-rock formula without pulling punches, these new songs capture the strengths of their first two records while introducing a deeper, more profound element to the music. Ribordy explains the expansion of their sound:
"I really wanted to bring back some of prominent synth sounds of the 80´s," states Ribordy. "On the other records I was into modern electronica, but on this one I took it back. Also, I wanted to tap into diversity and dynamic on this record. Our past records were pretty straight forward rock with a couple softer songs. I wanted to bring dynamics into individiual songs so the album as a whole, so it would be more interesting from front to back."
Perhaps one of the most captivating parts of the album as a whole is the personality of the band´s frontman, which shines through in more vulnerable ways than ever before. And if you were to speak to him directly, you would be shocked to find that the musical mastermind behind this widely successful outfit is softspoken as well as soft-hearted, a true artist´s artist with a gentle, kind spirit. Rather than seeking the limelight as most would in his position, Jessy has always had a different passion in mind:
"I never started doing this to seek attention for myself or become some sort of star. I have always just wanted to be one of many instruments onstage, allowing the music and the message to speak and go before me. I guess many are in this to play out some sort of star persona, but I have always wanted to make it about something other than myself."
From an influence standpoint, the third time is the charm for Falling Up. Pulling from everything from Radiohead to the Police to M83, there is a texture and life to these songs that maximizes the emotional output. It is more ambient than anything previous, and you can almost taste the yearning for heaven in each layer of instrumentation. Tracks such as "The Dark Side of Indoor Track Meets" are less guitar driven with more emphasis on the keys, which is a welcome shifting of gears. "Maps" is a worshipful tune which could propel Falling Up to an entirely new audience. But fans of the rock need not despair, as songs like "Hotel Aqaurium" are both guitar heavy and driving. All in all, there are many facets to the record which should keep the listener stimulated from front to back.
Running the gamut from the metaphorical to the candid, the lyrical content of Captiva is multi-faceted and dynamic, paralleling the sonic qualities of the record. Ribordy is heartfelt and reflective, with an intelligence that cannot be denied. On the opening line of the opening track "How they Made Cameras," Jesse lays a clever and heartfelt foundation for what is to come: Feeling the glass to tell how cold it is outside the car. It is as if he is testing the waters in preparation for a courageous dive into new sonic destinations, asking the listener if they are prepared for the ride. On "Good Morning Planetarium" he beckons with hope to those who are feeling hopeless: I´m wondering...is there anybody out there who is cold and incomplete? I can hear him calling. Come and follow me. Finally, on "Maps," the desperation that seems to exist just under the surface of Ribordy shines through in glorious exaltation: This last hour th night dropped into the sea...Further out, maybe you could meet me where I am. Further out, I know there is hope within your hands.
The airwaves have played a major role in shaping the impact of FU, and promises to play an even larger role in the influence of Captiva. "Hotel Aquarium" will undoubtedly serve as one the year´s most influential singles at ock and CHR. And "Maps" will propel the band into the uncharted waters of AC.
With a formidable touring history under their belt, including past jaunts with Pillar, TFK, Kutless, and Hawk Nelson, Falling Up has a more-than-solid base to build from as this record expands into new markets. They promise to continue to bring an enigmatic manifestation of new songs which will both captivate and stimulate. Worship will be the response, without a doubt.
"I have learned through this band that there is something higher than just music, even though it is our utmost passion. To be able to turn our gifts and motivation heavenward, to make this about something beyond myself, is the ultimate goal. And to realize that, now, more than ever before, is complete illumination. It is Captiva