Further Seems Forever

Penny Black

Written by: PP on 26/11/2012 01:20:20

It's been eight years since the previous Further Seems Forever album and eleven years since their Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional) fronted classic "The Moon Is Down" came to define everything we know about the modern emotionally charged rock scene today. Bands like Finch or Taking Back Sunday simply wouldn't exist, nor would they have sounded as they do, had it not been for pioneers like Further Seems Forever and indeed The Get Up Kids before them, whom they've closely modeled throughout their career in a slightly heavier and less indie oriented form. So understandably the return of Carrabba, who in 2012 enjoys a legendary status as a lead singer within that scene, to front the highly influential band on their comeback album has been the source of a many a wet underwear around the world. Older fans are ecstatic to hear if the band 'still got it', and the newcomers to the scene, who have only heard the band name mentioned in passing during interviews by their more current favorite bands, are intrigued by what all the hype is all about.

In short: they've still 'got it' and "Penny Black" is proof of that. It's basically everything you wanted from a FSF reunion with Chris Carrabba from his fragile emo melodies to his high-pitched singing that breaks into near-screaming during the climaxing passages. Especially the latter moments are what shift "Penny Black" from a good album into a great album. Listening to his honest, passionate delivery on the album highlight "Staring Down The Sun" during his loudest and most emotionally exposed moments can only be described as back-chilling experiences to say the least. And the album is packed with moments like these: "So Cold", "Rescue Trained", "Penny Black" are all examples where Further Seems Forever re-position themselves firmly above the rest of their modern contemporaries: bands like Anberlin haven't written a single song this good during their entire career, and yet FSF packs a handful of them on this album. As a result, I dare insinuate that "Penny Black" may be the best album in its genre in 2012 - or the best 'emo' album overall. It's certainly the truest emo album to the original sound of the genre, the sound they pioneered from the ashes of the 90s emo movement when the genre needed to be taken away from the basements and into the spotlight of the mainstream at large.

With the huge anthemic melodies that "Penny Black" presents, we are all reminded of a band that was there to start it all. Many of the bands mentioned in this review always looked up to this bunch here, and "Penny Black" provides all the arguments you'll need for proving why people fell in love with this band in the first place. The songs are incredibly good and offer plenty of longevity, and are distinctly FSF in their sound - nobody really sounds like this even in 2012.

There's only one grudge you're allowed to have with this record and that's the seriously questionable production. In pursuit of a raw and edgy sound, the band have thrown polish out the window and as a result, the record sounds kind of messy at times where especially the vocal melodies and high guitars crash into each other with the kind of force that causes them to either a) break or b) drown each other out. It's a minor issue, though, and I have read that some people prefer the unfiltered sound of this disc, so it may come down to preference. But it is the opinion of this writer that with a little more polish, "Penny Black" could've been a timeless classic like "The Moon Is Down" instead of just being one of the best albums the genre has to offer this year.

Download: Staring Down The Sun, So Cold, Rescue Trained,
For the fans of: The Get Up Kids, Anberlin, Finch,
Listen: Facebook

Release date 23.10.2012
Rise Records

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