Review: FOREVR – ‘DEMONSTRATION’

by Jake Kussmaul

Brisbane, Australia’s FOREVR released their debut EP DEMONSTRATION last April, which has since been available on cassette and CD formats. All four tracks were recorded live in a single session by the duo of guitarist Donovan Miller and vocalist Sam George-Allen. Together they sound as full as bands twice their size, with glimmering guitars and vibrant synthesizers bolstered by lively digi-drums.  The band is very much in tune with their ability to brainstorm, collaborate and ultimately communicate. Great diversity is found in each track, allowing the EP to transcend beyond the confines of not only demo recordings in general, but the alleged stigma surrounding a majority of “nu gaze” acts.

“Yucatan” has a kind of universal beauty, much like snowflakes falling to the ground—a fitting analogy to coincide with Australia’s winter solstice. The synthesizer accentuates each guitar chord with gracious ease as well as a certain mystique. George-Allen’s vocals are passionate and emit a cool, healing breeze. In the latter half of the song, the guitars become a blustery gust of chaos that contrasts with the smoothness of the harmonies. Coincidentally, “Heart of Ice” also feels like winter. I like how the icy hi-hat groove from the intro jumps into the foreground and gives the song a shivering energy. The vocals lie comfortably snug in the synth pads as if to keep warm. And while the snare drum is seemingly repetitive, it works quite well when transitioning between phases of the song.

The penultimate track, “Midas at Night,” sounds distressed in its intro, almost like danger is afoot; like King Midas’s golden touch has suddenly lost its luster. But with this change in tone comes a unique “cinematic” experience for the ears. Beginning with the first verse, the guitars are a faint buzzing texture, while the drums and synths assume dominance in preparation for an epic “battle” of sorts. I’d call it new age music with an edge—a heavier version of Clannad minus the familial harmonies. By the climax, the battle commences with a combinative clash of wailing guitars and dissonant synths, ideal for a conflicting chapter of a warrior-based RPG. I’ve seldom heard current shoegaze groups take ambitious steps, and FOREVR succeed in that respect.

After the otherworldly atmosphere subsides, the final track, “Forgive,” fades in like the memory of a lost loved one. While the song is decidedly mournful, It is not meant to deplete your spirits; rather, it simply a reminder that the person is in a better place.  The bassline is subdued, but feels just right in complementing the guitars.  Every chorus in the song allows the opportunity to take a deep breath, then exhale and release tension. I can clearly see why this is the fan favorite.

Overall, I was impressed with FOREVR’s ability to pack so much emotion into just four songs—and a demo, no less. Their level of talent and precision is more than just promising, it is already here. I’m certain they will have much more to offer in their follow-up. Whether it’s an expansion of the EP’s content, or a totally fresh start, I cannot wait! In the meantime, their cassette will find a nice home in my Onkyo tape deck.

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