Forgive Durden

Wonderland

Written by: AG on 18/07/2007 14:58:49

On first glance, you might think Forgive Durden is your typical emo-ripoff band. They have the haircuts, the cultural-reference name, they also have the ridiculously long song titles: "I've got a Witch Mad At Me and You Could Get Into Trouble", "Il TangoDella Signora Frencesco di Bartolommeo di Zanobi del Giocono", exactly like label mates Fall Out Boy. When I was first looked over their Myspace, I was welcomed by the clip of "Beware the Jubjub bird and Shun the Fumious Bandersnatch", and the song is downright new-millenium emo/pop. Still, some things managed to amaze me from first listen, such as the technicality of the song which features start/stops, different time signatures and very intricate guitar work. Bar the whiny vocals, and the clip itself which features girls and rejection, I was a really excited fight club fan.

So I rushed to my record store, and guess what? They didn't have Forgive Durden's album "Wonderland". Something about French record stores: they suck, badly. I still had the guts to order it and a week later I had the 10 songs in my hand. And I was more than pleased to hear that "Wonderland"'s opening song "Ants" was nothing but a great song, it features a funky bass line, HORSE The Band-like synths and amazing vocal work, ranging from hushed confessions to crazy rants. Now I had doubts about the emo tag I had first pinned. In fact, even if the band has emo influences (Hey! They're on Fueled By Ramen...), they are just a base for a much more complex album. The bouncy "Parable Of The Sower" features a banjo and a pub singalong with funny glass noises. All the songs on the album sound quite different and still manage to flow nicely, creating a brooding feeling.

Singer Thomas's vocals are as awe-inspiring as they can be frustrating. They work better with the slower songs on the album I guess, where he manages to sound original within the army of emo singers who share the same tone. An example: the beautiful "I've Got A Witch Mad At Me And You Could Get Into Trouble". The song builds up slowly from a hushed emo ballad to an epic ending and features poetic lyrics about "Wonderland": "The sun will peak into our windows, and be surprised to find empty beds, walls naked, our closet stripped of all its threads, we will awake in a new world, our own island." I had to quote this as it is just the most goosebumps-inducing part of the album. I forgot to mention that "Wonderland" is something of a concept album. I couldn't tell everyone more to get a hard copy, as the artwork is both beautiful and useful to really get into the theme and characters. "Wonderland" is a not-so-imaginary world where money rules our passions and exhausting work is the only possible future.

"Wonderland" is an amazing debut for Forgive Durden. It leaves you wanting more, but will find its way into the hearts of both casual listeners and music experts, because it is as catchy as it is complex. I know this might be a reviewing cliché, but you will find out more and more about this album at each spin. I hope Thomas will improve as a vocalist and maybe stand out in the emo crowd, as this could make Forgive Durden's next album an instant classic. But for now, we can all be pleased with this nearly-flawless album, which deserves a very, very high grade.

9

Download: I've Got A Witch Mad At Me And You Could Get Into Trouble, The Parable Of The Sower
For the fans of: Gatsby's American Dream, Kiss Kiss, This Providence
Listen: Myspace

Release date 09.05.2006
Fueled By Ramen

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