In true indie fashion -- FOF released the album as a surprise on March 31, 2015 to their fans.
"This album is really different than other FOF albums. I didn't want to spoil it by releasing a few hints or songs ahead of time, so I thought springing a surprise album release would be appropriate. I wanted the listeners to have immediate access to the music and to be moved as much as I was in the season of writing it."
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A New Page| Posted April 18, 2015
Future of Forestry, the atmospheric indie rock brainchild of Californian Eric Owyoung, has established a trademark built on all things exploratory and ethereal. From initial efforts Twilight and Young Man Follow to his reverent Advent series of Christmas EPs, Owyoung's signature sonic landscape has often been distinctly otherworldly, especially in recent years
This makes some of the musical direction on latest effort Pages a surprise. Although the haunting instrumentation and restrained approach to melody is still often present here (see youthful-sounding "Hold My Hand" or poetic, introspective "Learn To Love"), there is a sense of musical grounding that is unique to this project-- especially as it doesn't come from raw guitars as it did in the past. In fact, percussion and electric guitar elements are mostly absent or greatly understated here as Owyoung opts for a more organic sound.
Much of this sense of being more rooted, more earthy, comes from the folk influences that shape many of the tracks. "How to Fly" is sung as a straight folk ballad, with lyrics aiming at storytelling rather than concepts. "By the Water" has a similar influence in its innocent lyrics. Beautifully written "Trust" seems to channel Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash vibes, particularly in the confessional verse "A page torn from the past / Can trade like dirty cash / A song and a guitar / Can all be caught as liars."
The vocal approach here relies heavily on a back-and-forth between Eric Owyoung and guest female vocalist Alina Kamilchu, who features heavily on most of the tracks. Given that thematically much of the content of this album features on the concept of a classic love song, the interplay between the vocalists is fitting and lends a rich texture to the project's sound.
As has always been the case with Future of Forestry's releases, the writing is one of the strongest elements of the project. Even while using a more concrete, narrative approach to the lyrics, there are very few lines that could not stand on their own as instantly memorable images. "Seasons" is a strong example of this, drawing on the imagery of changing seasons to denote change and the passage of time. "Fireflies" boasts some strong lyrics also, gently telling a story in the words "Summer was a desert sunset's crimson fade / It was dry and heavy. / Beauty was the smell of distant rain, our spirits lifted high."
Future of Forestry has yet again produced a beautiful, mellow indie rock experience. The use of subtle folk influences show a new side of Owyoung's writing and also his voice, and both here are on point. Listeners looking for something engaging and intense will likely find it hard to connect with Pages, as it is much more focused on building an atmosphere, creating calm to the point of at times feeling like a lullaby. But if you're looking for a strong indie-style project to quietly soundtrack your own musings, Pages is perfect.
Song to Download Now:
"Seasons" (Get it on iTunes here.)