Reviewed by Paul Baker
There is much debate as to how to box this band: are they classic emo-punk, nu emo-punk, indie-rock, progressive rock, etc? Such quibbling over hard music's endless sub-divisions is usually a good indicator of an original act or, as with this Bermuda quintet, at least a genre-busting one. So it's particularly sad that the troubled group finally called it a day in February. As it turns out though they've left behind this classic compilation. The first song and the title track of their much lauded debut album, "The Moon Is Down", seems almost prophetic of the bands troubled history (they went through three vocalists and songwriters in as many albums), with lyrics like "We are the terminal cases, but we're so determined to thrive/This one is us." Tracks like "Wearing Thin" dwell on our accountability before God and his unending patience: "Go your own way, I'll be with you/Make mistakes and I'll forgive you." Others deal with the pain of relationships, such as the messy break-up in the "The Bradley" and a son's memories of his alcoholic father in "Say It Ain't So". Most important are the songs that take the self-loathing and isolation of so much nu-metal and emo-rock and identifies it as God's wake up call, together with optimism that Jesus can pierce the darkness, such as in "Light Up Ahead" ("Heart of darkness... Wake me up, there's a light up ahead"), "Someone You Know", where a broken spirit calls out "Ready when you are", and "Hide Nothing" (which oddly also apologises for hell; "Change is coming though it's nothing personal"). Stylistically the music twists like a snake. Rarely is there a predictable song structure and the music is often a frothing sea of ambiguous chords and tag-team arpeggios amidst virtuoso quick-silver drumming. Tempos are stretched and genres skipped through, often within the same track. It absolutely refuses to be pinned down, moving from brutal punk, anguished metal and System Of A Down style vocals to delicate Nick Drake-esque music box acoustic guitars, lo-fi Chillies and Smashing Pumpkins introspection. This is not showmanship (although this band is certainly capable of that), more that, as in "New Years Project", the dynamics of the music are dictated by the emotional content of the songs. This does not make for background music; it demands far too much of your attention. It is intelligent, challenging, sometimes aggressive, often beautiful, with lyrics that draw you into the song as if it came straight from your own heart. In a CCM scene that so often follows the secular, Further Seems Forever endeavoured to redefine it. They'll be sorely missed.
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