Review Summary: A very respectable entry to the emoverse.
Florida’s Further Seems Forever had a rather short and tempestuous career, producing only three full length records, each with a different vocalist. Their first effort, The Moon is Down
, is famous for being the original vehicle for Chris Carrabba, who left soon after to Confess. It managed to garner some affection from critics at the time, though, with its earnest and meandering brand of emo; and so expectations for the future were stirred. With the newly acquired Jason Gleason taking over vocal duties, the band created a respectable and focused sophomore record, How to Start a Fire
, which built on their already solid template by adding a more immediate melodicism that seemed a natural, organic step towards maturation. When Gleason moved on just before recording could begin for the band’s third record, the event fortunately coincided with the dissolution of emo veterans, Sense Field, which led to Jon Bunch employing his pipes on Further Seems Forever’s final shot, Hide Nothing
. The result is an interesting and subtle step toward a future that was not to be.
The transition from second to third album followed a similar trail of that between their debut and sophomore record: the music is still recognisably Further Seems Forever, but with a greater focus on hooks and melodies, albeit one infused with post-hardcore - even at times progressive - tendencies. The layered guitars shift and flow above the strong yet tastefully non-belligerent rhythm section, creating a deeply textured feel that was only hinted at on the band’s earlier releases. And Bunch’s voice sounds almost ethereal here compared to his efforts in Sense Field; at times driving, at others drifting, his high, clear tone is the perfect compliment to the music. The attitude and energy of the record shifts between songs - ranging from the energy and power of ‘Someone You Know’ to the more somber, almost dreamy moments like those in ‘For All We Know’ – but Hide Nothing
remains a cohesive statement, with an uplifting, perhaps even celebratory quality resonating throughout the songs; a quality that never sees them veer towards the syrupy waters of pop.
A factor which may prove to be a sticking point for some is the band’s adherence to an overt, if non-gratuitous expression of their religious ethos. At points in the record the lyrical content seems rather obviously centred around a Christian outlook, perhaps most notably in the opening track, ‘Light Up Ahead’. These moments are handled rather deftly, though, and the result is a welcomed ambiguity that reduces even the most obviously religious lyrics to strong hints
, leaving them open to interpretation. Further Seems Forever may capitalise the y in ‘you’, but they’re gracious enough to give the listener the choice. The lyrics do, however, occasionally display a genuine chink in the quality of the song writing found on Hide Nothing
, with the use of trite, overly simplistic rhyme to pad out verses here and there. Overall, though, this does not detract from what is a solid and often ignored slice of emo - one that reaches significant heights of atmosphere and emotive power, all with a serious and mature sense of melody that everyone can enjoy.
Someone You Know
For All We Know
Light Up Ahead