SINGLE REVIEW: Inevitable by Forest Robots

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Forest Robots is the musical brainchild of electronic artist and composer Fran Dominguez. He has previously released two full length albums, Supermoon Moonlight – Part One and Timberline And Mountain Crest (both of which I gave glowing reviews to, read here and here). These albums were essentially conceptual works, ambient instrumental soundscapes inspired by nature.

This latest release, Inevitable, is a distinct contrast to those works, moving into the area of traditional songwriting and featuring vocals performed by Dominguez himself. The genre is influenced by classic 80’s electronica/synth-pop groups such as Depeche Mode and Cocteau Twins, as well as a My Bloody Valentine influence in the use of guitars.

Set to a mid-paced, slinky Daft Punk-style electronic beat, the music is propelled by pulsing, highly melodic Depeche Mode synths and a subtle but effective bassline. This forms the bedrock for the distinctive, rich lead vocals with Dominguez singing in a low register not unlike Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan along with the understated style of New Order’s Bernard Sumner.

Lyrically, the song is essentially one about self-empowerment and not giving into the self-doubt created by a success-obsessed society: “They try to pretend that they know something that you don’t”. This builds to a momentous chorus with the mesmeric vocal hook, “When you know you know, you know…”. After this is a section of spectral guitars that gives the track an otherworldly feel akin to his previous work.

The second verse is direct in its unflinching honesty about life’s vicissitudes: “No point in pretending, heartbreak will always come…”. This is far from a ‘glass half empty’ outlook however, with the ultimate message hugely positive and empowering.

Overall, this is a bold step forward into unchartered territory for Forest Robots and already a highly successful one, creatively. Retaining some of the sonic qualities of previous material, Inevitable is a very well composed and performed synth-pop track, with Fran Dominguez’s vocal style as unique as his musical approach. Accessible, yet nothing like most of the mainstream music out there, Inevitable should gain Forest Robots a whole new legion of fans and open many doors.

 

VERDICT: 8.7 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

 

 

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SINGLE REVIEW: Untold by Lights That Change

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https://lightsthatchange.bandcamp.com/

Lights That Change are an alternative shoegaze/dreampop group, the musical brainchild of producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Marc Joy. After a long career in numerous bands, Marc formed LTC and they emerged with their first material in 2013, the E.P. Rainbow On Your Shoulder. In 2016, they released their highly acclaimed debut album Byzantium and have since released the SONICODIA E.P. as well as the singles Winning and Don’t Run (A Christmas Hope).

The line up has changed but members and contributors have included Mal Holmes (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark) and John Bryan (father of The Joy Formidable’s lead singer Ritzy). Their music is comparable to both 80’s alternative/indie groups like Cocteau Twins and The Cure along with more modern alternative bands like The xx and Cigarettes After Sex.

This latest release, Untold, features the crystalline vocals of K. Michelle Dubois and is a good showcase for their ethereal but accessible musical style. The song is built on a bedrock of languid yet intricate drums, low-end guitar lines that seem to float in mid air and a subtle wash of psychedelic synths and reverse reverbs.

The effect is decidedly mesmeric, bringing to mind the fragile beauty of Massive Attack’s Teardrop (ft. Liz Frazer of Cocteau Twins) and the mysterious otherworldliness of Pyramid Song by Radiohead. K. Michelle Dubois’s distinctive lead vocals complete the sonic landscape, enriched by echo-drenched harmonies.

Overall, this is another excellent single from Lights That Change that cements their status as one of the leading lights in the alternative/dreampop scene. This genre has always been popular but has passed more into the mainstream in recent years and I expect this song will help LTC’s already sizeable fan base increase exponentially. I look forward to hearing more from this unique band in the future.

 

VERDICT = 9 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

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