This year has seen many impressive and promising pop punk bands emerge but the majority offer the same conclusion, still to find a distinct personal voice to their sound. These bands share a similarity to each other and those before them to make the moment enjoyable but the future the canvas where hopes of standing out from the crowd, or not will play out. UK band Forever After is one of those rare exceptions, not only does the band ooze great promise ahead with the impressive EP Pictures but already has stepped into a unique place of their very own.
The bio for the Essex quartet states ‘for fans of Lower Than Atlantis, Deaf Havana, and The Maccabees. You cannot argue against that but easily can add the likes of Buzzcocks, Undertones, and Hagfish, such the feisty new wave and original punk essences which tantalise and molest the passions wonderfully throughout. Though not quite perfect Pictures is outstanding, an immediately exciting treat to fire up the heart which just gets better and better with every play.
Formed at the beginning of the year, Forever After soon had audiences baying for more with their live shows which included playing alongside bands including Mallory Knox and Ten Second Epic. Released earlier as a free download, Pictures too only excited a crowd looking for something different and with its official appearance November 5th, as the band prepare to record its follow up, a wider recognition seems inevitable once the four tracks thrust their wanton hook smart dance on more and more eager ears.
Touring The Map opens the release up with fiery riffs and thumping beats, as most pop punk songs do. It pulls attention its way without startlingly offering anything new, leaving expectations exactly where they are when being confronted by another pop punk effort. Into its stride the track whips out teasing hooks, beckoning melodic weaves, and the excellent distinct voice of guitarist Dom Littler. Suddenly you realise you are in the midst of a sonic storm of originality and outrageous infectiousness, the beats of drummer Craig Mcqueen persistently probing the ear whilst bassist Harry Stokley prowls the song with throbbing intent whilst adding his own fine vocals to back up Littler. This alone would certainly ensure a fresh sound and experience but with the excellent guitar invention of Sam Byford, his melodic weaves bordering on lustful irreverence, the song is an irresistible piece of aural mischief, the thing sonic wet dreams are made of. The song is brilliant, one which leaves one breathless whilst in full union with its passion physically and vocally, and the beginning of one of the bigger musical indie thrills this year.
The following (Old) School, is as it says on the tin, well in part as original punk flavours vein this great slab of rock n roll. Slightly grittier than its predecessor but equally as contagious, the song is a kind of mix between Bad Religion, Radio Stars, and Maximo Park but again belongs to no one but Forever After. A more abrasive affair the hooks easily captures the imagination whilst the vocal harmonies and melodic flames from the guitars just ignite further thrills and appetite for much more form the band. Like the first, the song is a shifting beast of pleasure, the rhythms erupting into excited bursts and bass offering a swagger which sets it apart from but perfectly in league with the charge of the guitars.
The third track called Interlude is just that. It is an ok instrumental but out of place on the release and just feels like a filler which is needless on a brief EP. Saying that though it leads perfectly into final track Say It True so maybe just reinventing it and making it a proper intro to another great song would be a rewarding thing to look at. The closing track is a riot of manic guitars, anthemic energy and shouts, and challenging rhythms all wrapped in irresistible invention and magical enterprise. The track just kicks up a storm of pleasure from which escape is impossible and full engagement willing.
Pictures is outstanding, simply as, and Forever After a band destined to make the future one thrilling and explosive punk rock adventure.
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