Eric Schackne

REVIEW: Further Seems Forever – Penny Black

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Further Seems Forever absolutely did not disappoint the world with their post-reunion effort.  Penny Black proves to be an appropriately-matured return to form for these emo-alt-rock indie favorites.  Being a Florida native and long-time unabashed Dashboard Confessional fan(in addition to FSF) I was excited to hit play and hear Chris Carrabba front this band for the first time since the turn of the century.

They kick it off with the single, “So Cold.”  This is a great track and I’m loving the texture of the bass guitar.  I’m hearing some great radio-friendly moments mixed with their own brand of atypical timing.  Track one is a strong start.  I’m glad to have you back guys.

Next up is “Rescue Trained” which feels like a Dashboard melody with a Taking Back Sunday backbone.  I love the wailing vocals and how that contributes to the emotional chorus.  Also, this song being shorter(under three minutes) than the opener keeps the momentum moving nicely.  This brings us semi-abruptly to “Way Down,” which is reminiscent of something Davey Havok may have contributed to AFI.  This song perfectly brings a punk influence to a modern alternative rock song.  The chorus is unbearably catchy and is sure to be chanted in unision by the crowds that catch them on tour.  This song’s energy never dips too far down or gets too intense, making it a great transition into “King’s Canyon.”  You’ll be dragged right into this epic emo intro.  This is what I wanted from Further Seems Further.  This song has these little bursts of anthemic rhythm that imediately bring my head to move.  The structure is a little all over the place, but I’m enjoying this solid album track.

“Staring Down The Sun” showcases Carrabba’s vocal range with a tender verse supporting a the belted melodies in the chorus.  This song feels fresh with respect to the previous four tracks.  I like the clear message in the tag, “All I ever really wanted was your love.”

All of a sudden I’m in the midst of a hypnotic interlude.  “A System Of Symmetry” is a vaguely haunting track, bringing the energy way down and adding a heavy electronic presence.  The fade out is the perfect delivery of the title track, “Penny Black.”  The bass and drums carry this rockin’ tune on their backs(I like to rhyme to make my point sometimes).  “On The Outside” makes me want to listen to Get Up Kids having a slightly cleaner guitar riff contributing to most of the song.  This song has a soundtrack quality; what I’m taking away from the emotion in the lyrics is perfectly matched in instrumentation and vocal delivery.

Get ready, because “Engines” drops you into a thunderstorm with a melodically-screamed verse from Carraba.  The bridge has a great build and you’re delivered an amazing final cymbal crash that’s sure to bring a sigh of satisfied relief.  With “Rusted Machines” they’re hitting some different textures with this track alternating between choppy rhythms and layered vocals.  This outro is a cinematic climax and swiftly became one of my favorite album moments.

“Stem The Loss” feels to be one of the more experiemntal tracks on the album, opting for drum rolls and harder rock beats with a disjointed song structure.  But, this track is still fueled with copious amounts of energy between the thick guitar arrangements and Carraba’s incessantly commanding vocals.  With an epic distortion-driven instrumental break, Penny Black feels as if it’s coming to an end.  The delicate intro of “Janie” makes me really tune into the beauty of this atmosphere created by a band that’s made so much noise thus far.  I love the tension a slow song can create at the end of an album.  The whisper-esque production on these melodies make me think of another Florida band I love, Copeland.  Delicate drums and acoustic guitar tones ease you to the end.  Well done guys; I’m glad you sorted out your differences for the sake of creating some more great music.

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