Ranging in age from 18 to 21, Toby The Fugitive has been a band since the founding members were musical adolescents in middle school. Four friends who found salvation in creative/art driven rock decided that music was the way to their destiny. These boys are originally from Clarksville, TN where they grew up listening to bands such as Sonic Youth, Refused, Cursive and Minor Threat
Although the music they compose is definitely unique, their sound is not unlike many other alternative rock bands of this decade. The thing that sets Toby The Fugitive apart is that they aren't afraid to let some distinct melodies slip into their brand of harsh rock. This band is beautifully dissonant and atonal in the range of The Mars Volta, Fugazi, Drive Like Jehu, At The Drive In, Unwound, Glassjaw and Thrice. When they're banging away at full volume, they are formidable and abrasive. But just when you think the band is just another loud blur of screams and chaos, the vocalist jumps in with some nice clean melodies. "It's kind of like a mixture of post-punk, indie rock and pop, with some obtuse instrumental sections thrown in for good measure.
Toby The Fugitive's early tours earned them a strong word-of-mouth reputation, both for their powerful performances, and for their eagerness to play in unusual venues. They sought out alternatives to traditional rock clubs partly to relieve the boredom of touring, but also hoping to show fans that there are other options to traditional ways of doing things. As Rick Franklin said, "You find the Knights of Columbus Halls, you find the guy who's got a space in the basement of his house and you find the guy who has an open garage. Kids will do that stuff because they want to be closer to the music.
The band's early music was most clearly rooted in math rock, but even their early output was marked by unorthodox rhythmic and structural elements, often steeped in irregular stop-start structures, punctuated by cliff-hanging pauses. Generally, Casey Carstsens lyrics and singing are more direct and anthemic while Rick Franklin usually favors a more abstract, oblique approach. Matt Whittenberg has contributed vocals to a few songs as well. Lyrics and vocals often feature strong emotional intensity. This style has led many critics to call their music post-hardcore, as it is seen as both a progression of and a reaction to the hardcore/indie movement
For the upcoming CD, due out on January 15th, Toby The Fugitive fully integrated elements of punk rock, hardcore, soul and noise with an inventively syncopated rhythm section. Notable is Franklins inventive, interlocking guitar playing, which often defies the traditional notion of "lead" and "rhythm" guitars. They often feature unusual and dissonant chords and progressions filtered through a sometimes emotional hardcore lens. Their guitar work has sometimes earned comparisons to Unwound, Glassjaw, Chavez, and Fugazi. At last, a band that's not afraid to make music they actually love and embrace.