Album: Life Processes
Comments: Dear Forward Russia!,
I want you to know that I really tried to make this work.
When you released your first LP, Give me a Wall in 06, I embraced it, warts and all. Sure, the songs all named after numbers. Sure, there was the obvious Bloc Party comparison to be made. But I didn’t care about any of that. I liked you for your earnestness, your aggression. I liked that you shied away from overly emotional songs while maintaining a sense of drama and grandness. Sure, you fell flat on your face sometimes, but you always charmed me enough to draw me back in.
When I heard you were coming back into my life with this year’s Life Processes, I was excited. And when I heard your songs would have actual names, I couldn’t help but get my hopes up. I got my hair done, bought a new outfit. I was ready to see the new you, improved and mature.
Sure, the things I’ve always liked about you are still here. Your ear for the dramatic is as sharp as ever. Tracks like “A Prospector Can Dream” and “A Shadow Is a Shadow Is a Shadow” are top-notch post punk songs. They don’t reinvent the wheel, but they would look mighty pretty attached to my car.
But where is the fun, Forward Russia!? You’ve always been tight, but you used to sound playful even when you were trying to be serious. Your lead singer Tom Woodhead used to play with his voice, alternating between scrappy guttural tones, falsetto yelps and mid-level British crooning, but he never seems to break out of his croon this time around.
When did you start taking yourself so seriously? I loved you for your earnestness, but it takes more than some guitar layering to make you U2. You used to want nothing more than to be a good post-punk band; why the sudden need to be the most important band of all time? I admire your aspirations, but you can’t make that kind of jump in two years.
I want you to know I still have feelings for you, Forward Russia!. Life Processes has a lot of good things going for it, but it's not all I hoped it could be. There will always be a soft spot in my heart for you, but I can’t take your self importance and your similar sounding songs. There are some bright spots here, and if you can focus on them, I’m sure we can be happy together. Please don’t keep me waiting.
Rating: 5.5 out of 10
Key Tracks: A Prospector Can Dream, Breaking Standing, A Shadow is a Shadow is a Shadow
Buy, Steal, Skip: Skip