It’s been four years since The Forms’ highly-acclaimed debut album Icarus was released. It’s been well worth the wait, but for the quartet, making the album was a grueling piece of work that rivaled some movie production schedules with the band spending 50 straight days in the studio. Frontman Alex Tween says it was worth it because “we’re really proud of how it came out.”
Normally a band shouldn’t have to spend that much time in the studio, but the members of The Forms (Tween – guitar, Jackson Kenny – bass, Brendan Kenny – guitar, and Matt Walsh – drums) are completists when it comes to their music. And it shows, despite the album’s average running time.
The opening track “Knowledge In Hand” has the perfect blend of simplistic repetition, while the subsequent tracks “Alpha” and “Redgun” follow the intro pattern with a more laid-back feel. Together, the three create the perfect soundtrack flashback to college life with their varying speed-ups and slow-downs.
Consistency is the heart of the band’s self-titled sophomore album, and by the time you notice, all twelve songs are over. Every song seems to build on the previous one, yet still remain in a harmonized straight.
There’s an underlying firmness to Alex’s vocals, as if he wants to be mellow, but also tries to make sure that you are actually feeling mellow. “Bones” is a good example where Alex is direct in his lyrics while the accompanying instruments sound almost the opposite. You can sense this more in the next track “Blue Whale” where Alex’s repeated “No, no, no, no’s” sound unyielding, albeit more like the unyielding “no’s” by a someone who is drunk trying to pass on another beer while everyone around him is yelling “chug, chug, chug.” But that’s not the point.
I think analyzing this album song-by-song is futile because of its amazingly utter evenness. Tween even describes the actual complexity of the songs by them “having parts [that] work with each other organically and actually make sense.” This type of artistry and showmanship seems ever more relevant in the world of heavily-produced and constantly-rotated radio pop tracks.