The Tower and the Fool's bittersweet symphonies

Turn on the bright lights
By CHRIS CONTI  |  February 4, 2011

THE SATISFIED Capaldi, Rosenquest, Correia, Tucker, and Poorman.

It shouldn't come as too much surprise to hear the six guys comprising the Tower & the Fool have made a conscious decision to simply go with the flow following a promising, self-titled debut EP released late last year (available at iTunes and The band members shared an extended foray in the music industry long before they released the six-song disc in October. Lead vocalist Alex Correia shredded with Boston post-hardcore band Therefore I Am (formerly on Equal Vision Records), and drummer Mike Poorman enjoyed a nice run with (ex-Vagrant Records act) Hot Rod Circuit. Keyboardist Zac Clark continues his role with New Haven-based quartet Queen Killing Kings, which released their '09 debut on the same label as national heavyweights Seether, Hawthorne Heights, and Evanescence. Add renowned singer/songwriter/guitarist Chris Rosenquest into the mix, along with guitarist Chris Capaldi and bassist John Tucker, and we're talking "supergroup" here but, knowing the ever-humble Poorman, he's probably cringing right now reading that sort of flattery.

On the handful of occasions Poorman and I have chatted since the Tower & the Fool released its debut, he has made it clear that personal satisfaction and the honest pleasure of creating music far outweighs another go-round with the industry grind. Heck, Poorman even admitted feeling like a nag when WBRU program director Wendell Clough recently requested the Tower disc. Clough caught the sextet in action opening for the Coming Weak's final show and at a recent gig with Kodiak Attack (both bands recorded albums at Poorman's Strangeways Studios in Providence); their spirited set at 'Gansett's recent birthday bash convinced him to add the Tower to the next WBRU Cheap Date show at the Met. Still, Poorman isn't in the business of tooting any horns.

"We don't really have a plan for the band, and we aren't out to prove anything," Poorman told me. "We are doing this because we love to write and play music.

"I doubt you'll see us doing any heavy promotion or soliciting record labels," he said.

One thing is certain when kicking back with the Tower & the Fool's debut disc — lyricists Correia and Rosenquest both are longing, downright aching for the one(s) who(m) got away; they're a pair of 30-somethings with hearts thumbtacked to sleeve. (Fans of Wilco, Buffalo Tom, Maritime, or Death Cab for Cutie — consider The Tower & the Fool as must-own material.) Ladies, what have you done to these guys? "Love Is a Sad Song," the EP opener, is too pretty to be another mopey ballad ("If you can't move yourself, you can't drag my broken bones," Correia sings). Solemn organs and slide guitar twang accompany the raspy harmonies of Alex and Chris on the radio-ready gem "Fade Away," with enough bittersweet couplets to leave your molars throbbing. Correia finds himself throwing little pebbles at her window on the uptempo country-gallop of "New Road," where the unleashes lovelorn lines, "I wish I had someone here to blame/I wish she wanted me the same" and "I can't say that it's her loss/'Cuz she can't lose, can't lose what she don't want," sounding as if he's channeling his inner Davey von Bohlen.

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