After some lineup adjustments that left the band leaner and more centered, Forest Fire partnered with engineer Jonathan Schenke (Parquet Courts, Dirty Beaches) - the first time they’d worked with an outside engineer in a proper studio - to uncoil sonic possibilities they’d before only touched on, and to enable their new songs to breathe and stretch out.
That stretching out is quite literal in the case of album centerpiece “Annie,” an eleven minute track that is wide but not sprawling, buoyed by motorik lope and ornate synths, grounded by vocal spits and hisses. The song exemplifies the atmosphere of a record that the band acknowledges owes a debt to the late ‘70s output of not only Kraftwerk but Yoko Ono, Joy Division, Laurie Anderson, and their ilk; Sandy Skoglund’s iconic 1977photograph Pink Sink is the cover.
From its darker, sparser, sonic landscapes, obsession with analog instrumentation, and movement-focused, heavily metaphorical lyrics, Screens finds Forest Fire hewing to this mood. But for all the record’s gratitude to the past, its aesthetic is just as much forwardlooking, able to embrace the sunrise hooks of anthemic album opener “Waiting in the Night” and the Suicide-spooky synth-drone of “Cold Kind” as easily as “Alone with the Wires'" jangly stride and Leonard Cohen-frosted vocal delivery.
released September 10, 2013
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