Forever Came Calling

What Matters Most

Written by: TL on 09/11/2014 17:33:18

With 2012's "Contender", California-based pop-punk group Forever Came Calling emerged to establish themselves as one such, arriving neatly in the slipstream of similarly sounding success story The Story So Far yet not without making quite the same splash. With the recently released "What Matters Most" however, the band has redoubled its efforts, and the result is once again a slab of modern pop-punk where the potential is plainly evident. The straight to the point approach of opener "August Is Home" is symptomatic for a high-octane first half of the album where the band is constantly off to the races, the instruments sitting well-adjusted in the mix and the guitars in particular flashing with exactly the right balance between melody and power.

The best song from this first half of the record is the single choice "Mapping With A Sense Of Direction", which is just a slight bit catchier than the rest, via the extra power thrown into the first syllables in each bar of the chorus. The surrounding cast is not far behind, but sounds a bit too alike to a have a similar feeling of staying power, and while you can still feel the band's great energy and sense of urgency, particularly the bridge sections in the songs feel like they could have been used to do more to make each track stand apart. At the same time, the vocal arrangements seem busy enough that it's a wonder how much of them rests on singer/guitarist Joe Candelaria alone, as there are backing vocals - including some cool harsher ones here and there - and it's possible some songs could have felt more dynamic with some more contrastful call/response work, seeing as the melodies sound like they would lend themselves well to it.

In the middle we get a change of pace, most noticeably in the acoustic ballad "Endangered Innocence", which makes you sit up and listen simply by virtue of its gentler approach, and listening to the backing violins, the percussive use of the acoustic guitar in the second half of the track plus the vocal melodies in general, you suspect that the band has looked to Californian pop-punk powerhouse Yellowcard for some inspiration and been wise to do so. The following "Indebted" also thrives on dynamics established via a quieter verse and overall has a more anthemic feeling to it than earlier songs on the record.

Generally, the songs on the album's later half seem to showcase some slightly more elaborate songwriting, generally making you think of a violin-less, youthful Yellowcard, although Candelaria's primarily super-charged singing style retains it's Parker Cannon-esqueness throughout. It contrasts the early half nicely, as the first songs lean more towards the hyper-active energy of bands like Cannon's The Story So Far or Canada's Living With Lions. The whole thing is wrapped in a slick production that shows that the band means business, and the main noteworthy drawback to the album is that Forever Came Calling still need more experience with making their songs stand apart more individually. Along with the ones already mentioned, a song like "Rather Be Dead Than Cool" should grab some attention due to its lyrical criticism of the more superficial part of the punk rock scene, but just as many tracks will go unmentioned here, and those reach the mark of solid, but can't quite tango with the average material on the genre's yardstick releases, here thinking of the better records by The Wonder Years or indeed Yellowcard to name some examples.


Download: Mapping With A Sense Of Direction, Indebted, Endangered Innocence
For The Fans Of: The Story So Far, Living With Lions, Yellowcard

Release date 21.10.2014
Pure Noise Records

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