Since becoming the ‘former frontman of Nine Black Alps’, Sam Forrest has produced a respectable selection of solo recordings, most of which are chilled, acoustic-type numbers with an Elliott Smith-ness about them that makes you think that a) here is a musician that has a sackful of genuinely decent songs with something to say and b) the world of indie films will never be short of a soundtrack or two while material like this is being created.
Forrest’s latest effort, Silo, takes a fairly significant turn away from this kind of sound though. There are none of the thoughtful, Wes Anderson-friendly tunes on offer with this four song EP. The opening track, The World Hates Me, coughs up distorted guitars and distorted, sneering vocals over a thick layer of simple, cymbal-heavy drums that could easily bring about comparisons to any number of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club tunes. The riffs are uncomplicated and the fuzz-coated lead lines have a certain rusty metal on rusty metal quality that provides an interesting jagged edge to proceedings. Hardly a beat passes between the last, muddy note of The World Hates Me and the slicker, swaggering opening chords of Babydoll and the change in tone is eye-opening. Lying somewhere in between The Dandy Warhols’ strut and PJ Harvey’s jangling guitar sound on Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, this is a catchy track that only takes a couple of listens to begin standing out, particularly when set against the next song, Clear. While it isn’t the worst song in the world it doesn’t have too much about it to catch the attention. As with some of Forrest’s previous releases, there are similarities (not least in the way his voice brushes over the music) with the likes of Elliott Smith that are noticeable; although it doesn’t have the same understated punch.
The EP closes in much the same way as it opens with Down On Me, a return to the edgy, distorted side of things. It’s a good finish to a short burst of, on the whole, ear-catching music – definitely not a replica of all the indie rock that is soaking the airwaves at the moment. The world of the side parting, floppy fringe and skinny jeans has its place and I don’t begrudge it the success it is experiencing at the moment in the slightest; but sometimes you just want to be sent back to the early naughties and indulge in some sludgey, rocking, moodiness. This small clump of songs does just that.
Sam Forrest’s EP ‘Silo’ is available to download on iTunes now