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: A Fighter’s Heart (part 2) by Untitled Art

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Untitled Art is an EDM project based in Florida. It’s the musical brainchild of singer songwriter David Sempier, assisted by producer/partner James Linton. While he chooses to remain as enigmatic as the band’s moniker, the small amount of music Untitled Art have released in their short duration has had a strong impact on music listeners and critics alike.

Their music is a fascinating and unexpectedly original concoction of electronica, dubstep, alternative rock, psychedelia and indie. They employ semi-traditional song structures with the most modern electronic styles, comparable to what New Order and The Prodigy did in the 80’s and 90’s.

Their first release, Philly To Long Branch (Part 2), blended the energy and sound of dubstep (warped and morphing sawtooth synths and blistering drum sounds) with alt. rock guitars and vocals, along with trippy, blissed out psychedelic sections (the latter featuring on the remix). This eclectic concoction made a big splash, garnering tens of thousands of views on YouTube.

Aside from their original sound that’s bang at the cutting edge of modern genres, a key component of their musical personality is David Sempier’s distinctive vocals. With a tone mildly reminiscent of Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus, but with much more power and range, he gives the music an anthemic aspect that bodes well for their potential exposure on the festival circuit.

All these elements are in place on their latest release, A Fighter’s Heart (part 2). It’s a more aggressive, yet at the same time more accessible track, than their first release, with a plethora of naggingly catchy hooks (“I’m a fighter with a fighter’s heart now“, something you can imagine being chanted by thousands”).

The production is superb, with punchy, intricate synths melded to a brutal kick and snare sound that will work just as well on the dancefloor as at a festival. It breaks down and builds up like a great dance record, yet works just as a great EDM/alternative pop record.

Overall, Untitled Art have managed to forge the perfect balance between EDM/dubstep and the anthemic, emotive elements of alternative/punk rock to create their own fututuristic hybrid sound. In David Sempier, they have a vocalist that gives their music power and personality aided by cutting edge production,  so their appeal stretches right across the musical spectrum. In short, I’m putting Untitled Art at the top of my list as the ‘next big thing’ and A Fighter’s Heart Part 2 could be the song that catapults them into the stratosphere

VERDICT: 9.1 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

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