When your sound is so distinct and well-defined, the possibilities may not seem endless, but match that together with the power, energy, drive and melody Forest City & Friends bring to the table, on their self-titled debut album, and ‘endless’, is only the beginning of where this band is able to go with it’s sound. There’s also something slightly nostalgic throughout the entire record, and that’s to be expected from a band who looks both backward and forward on the rock timeline, for inspiration. They are just as much at home ripping through energetic and dynamic electrified rhythms, as they are the quieter, more melodic grooves. Another one of the things that stands out about Forest City & Friends, are the vocals, which go from tortured and haunted to eminently cool and casual. Sometimes in the same song. Forest City & Friends are so finely tuned in their all-embracing sound, it occasionally seems so perfect, as if the band has been preparing for success all along.
But then we don’t have a bunch of upstarts simply banging away at their instruments here. What we have is a collective made up of local rock luminaries Pete Giordano (Twisted Roots, Heart Shaped Rock) and Chris Muccino (Endless Interstate, Liquid Daydream), with the addition of Greg Goodwin (Mercy, Akela Moon) and “friends” to record with, such as Mike Chasse (Dominic and the Lucid), Ryan Zoidis (Lettuce, Rustic Overtones), Tony McNaboe (Rustic Overtones, Ray Lamontagne), Jordan Warsky (Endless Interstate, Liquid Daydream), Chris Dow (Mallett Brothers), Sheridan (Heart Shaped Rock), John Clavette and several others.
The performing-quality quotient on the album, is infinitely high, while the 10 musical templates are seemingly flawless. The recording begins with ‘All Roads’, which after listening to the album all the way through, was the right choice for the first song.
With hard, fiery guitar lines, soaring vocals and a to-the-point drum pattern to match, the track shows exactly what you’ll be getting from the album as a whole – a non-apologetic bunch of tracks that will get you into a series of differing moods no matter where you are, or what your situation may be while you happen to be listening. Luscious harmonies run thick and high on the jangling sound of “Forest City”, showing yet another shining facet of Forest City & Friends.
Another track I find important to mention, is ‘Phone Booth’, which starts out with the type of melody that gets stuck in your head for hours. The lyrics are what really stand out for this song; we’ve all heard this song’s topic before, when things are not going well, but Forest City & Friends give it their own spectacular twist, with clever lyrics and Americana flavored instrumentation to match.
As a whole, the song will without a doubt capture a whole range of disparate listeners. One of the tracks that I personally enjoy the most is, ‘Lawland Blue’. It’s got an insistent rhythm, a vivid narrative and a nostalgic melody that keeps taking me back to some place of exciting memories.
“Spirit Sound” is full of delicious guitars and vocals, and an impeccable melody that could come right out of the acid-rock sixties. The many twists and turns that this album takes, may on first listen seem a little confusing, but on multiple listens the genius of the whole thing clicks into place.
The songs here never take the easy way out, always resolving and developing in ways that are inspired and surprising, and the album itself never stays on one sound or vibe for too long before making a left turn. Which is exactly where Forest City & Friends turn on “Dead Man’s Road”, horns an all. Pete Giordano’s lead guitar is on fire on here.
The funky “It Ain’t Nothin New” rides a tightrope of rock and soul, while the interplay between the guitars and rhythm section is absolutely gorgeous. The slower songs like “Companion”, “Rainmaker” and “21 Cent Whisper”, are not without their unexpected twists and turns either; there are far too may cool moments to mention all of them, but I would be remiss not to mention the thick knots of guitar and rhythmic interplay.
While every song on this album is great, there are also no repeats. Every song has it’s own flavor and each one is wonderful. Forest City & Friends is a well thought-out project with a lot of talent packed into it. Much love to this band and this amazingly executed album, an incredible addition to a genre that is almost totally out of breath and has grasping on the thin air of corporate rock for years now.
The CD was produced, recorded and mixed by Anthony Gatti (along with the band) at his studio The Bulkhead in Scarborough Maine and then mastered at the world famous Gateway Mastering in Portland Maine by Grammy Award winning engineer Adam Ayan.
Pete Giordano – Vocals / Guitars
Chris Muccino – Guitars / Banjo / Mandolin / Synth / Keys
Greg Goodwin – Bass / Vocals / Percussion
Mike Chasse – Drums
Paul Gauer – Percussion
Ryan Zoidis – Sax
Tony McNaboe – Keys / Percussion
Jordan Warsky – Drums
Chris Dow – Flute
Sheridan – Vocals
John Clavette – Vocals
Ahmed Al Sahesi – Percussion
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