EP Review; Forever Came Calling: “Retro Future”

“Mine to Mold” starts with vocals in isolation from the first downbeat of the track. Soon after the vocalist sings the first blurb of the album, the instrumental section enters with a repetitive, spinning line that helps establish the pulse of the work. As the band moves through this introduction, some vocals are heard as if they are resting at a distance, which gives the work dimension from the very beginning. As the band transitions heavily into the first verse of the selection, the percussion section enters with systematic hits that seem to fall in pitch. This, mixed with the strings, creates the groove of the work that the band rides even when their texture rises and falls. When the band slams into the chorus of the work, the full instrumental ensemble becomes present to give their audience an over the top sound. This is mixed with vocals that are sung in their characteristic style with vocals that are shouted. The second verse is similar to the first, mimicking the isolation of vocals in certain points. The band provides small embellishments to the instrumental line throughout the second verse and the second chorus to keep the audience on their toes. Near the end of the work, the string sections pervades over the percussion section that is resonating at a distance. This helps to provide major contrast in a moments time before the track fades to nothing, which will result in the end of the work. This was a strong first song for the album, for it gives the audience a sense of the sound that they’ve missed from Forever Came Calling, and it gives them a preview of what to expect moving through the rest of the album.

“Nostalgic / Obsessive” starts with faint vocals that revolve in a circle as they grow in volume to allow the audience to hear what is being vocalized. This is mixed with shimmering-like motives in the string section. As the band evolves that sound, the entire instrumental section comes together to produce a larger than life sound that holds the groove of the work. This reigns for a while before the vocalist enters to provide the first verse of the piece. The vocals fall in the middle to higher range of the vocalist, which is strong, for it gives the audience something new to hold on to as they are listening to the second track. The chorus of the work holds true to the band’s characteristic sound, for it takes the pulse-like instrumental motives and elaborates on them to allow the vocal line to shine while blending with the texture nicely. The second verse keeps the same format as the one before, which transitions well going back into the chorus. As the audience listens to the chorus a second time, it is evident that the instrumental part is enhancing the vocal line by providing juxtaposing hits here and there to allow the line to stand out. As the band begins to move towards the end of the work, the instrumentation drops as the groove switches to a slight half-time feel. This is done by switching the timbre to a soft snare drum paired with the high-hat cymbal. This gives the piece a bit of a relaxed, almost jazz-like feel, which shows the audience some more of what Forever Came Calling has under their musical belt. When the vocals enter after this instrumental interlude, they feed off this new vibe before quickly morphing back to the original groove of the chorus. The band then rides this motive out until the end.

“Kansas City” starts with a rapid string motive that resonates with an edgier, almost demo-like, sound. This motive reigns by itself for a few seconds before the percussion section enters to enhance certain focal points of the melodic line. Through this, the instrumental ensemble is able to establish the groove of the song, and the one they create rings through an overly excited manner. When the vocalist enters, he plays off the instrumental materials by providing the audience with a simple melodic idea that follows the natural contour of the voice. When the band transitions into the chorus, it is heard that the instrumentation drops to provide a half-time feel. This shift in aura gives the audience something entirely new to attach to, which makes for a lot of contrast in a high-volume work. The second verse follows similar tactics as the first verse; however, the beginning vocals of the verse resemble vocals that would be heard on a muffled, old-time radio. This eventually switches back to the sound the audience is used to before moving back to the memorable chorus. As the band nears the end of the selection, they provide a small string motive that leads the listeners into a spin-off verse, which is followed by the string’s step-wise melodic line. This verse leads into an elaborated instrumental feature that morphs nicely into the chorus, which concludes the piece.

“Borrowed Cars” starts with a quickly growing semi-tone that leads the audience into a grand pause. Following the slight grand pause, the band’s instrumental section falls into one of their larger instrumental features of the album. When the vocals enter, the instrumentation drops slightly to leave an aggressive held tone to fall underneath the vocalist’s melodic line. The vocals presented in this section remain mainly in the middle of the vocalist’s ranger until the band reaches the chorus. This gives the band the opportunity to play with limits throughout their verses, so that when they shift to the chorus of the work, they can give the audience heightened music to the max. The music of the chorus works cohesively together through the subdivision provided in the instrumental section with a mixture of embellishments and random homorhythmic tendencies between the vocals and instrumentation. The second verse is extremely similar to the first, which works well as the band eventually heads back to the chorus. Towards the end of the work, the band includes an instrumental feature that works similarly to the one found at the beginning of the piece except this time they include a small guitar solo. This will take the listeners back to the chorus of the work, where the selection will eventually end.

 “Wish” starts with a rapid string motive that places the lower and the upper strings moving in a similar motion; however, they are projecting slightly different rhythms, which makes for a cool introduction to the track. This remains constant for a moment before the percussion section enters with three heavy hits per musical phrase. This helps to establish the steady pulse for the work as the vocalist enters soon after. When the vocals begin, the instrumental section decreases their volume as the percussion section embellishes their established melodic line here and there to enhance the vocal line. Throughout the first verse, it feels as if the vocal line is having a conversation with itself, for the way that the lyrics are presented fall in a question/answer fashion. This helps to keep the audience engaged, for this technique is completely new to them. The vocalist, throughout the selection, includes the full spectrum of his vocal range, which helps to capture the effortless nature that the track is trying to provide. In the middle of the work, the band includes a small instrumental interlude that feels light-hearted, which morphs nicely to the familiar material presented by the entire band. What’s interesting about this track is that the chorus falls on the softer end of the spectrum. The inclusion of this was smart for the band, for it gives their audience a new feel from the album, and it shows them that they can write and execute a memorable ballad. As the song progresses, the band fluctuates with instrumentation even more to ride home that gentle nature of the chorus; however, as the band builds to the end of the work, they take the chorus, and they add forward instrumental materials, which will help to give their audience another heightened moment. However, in this selection, this is all the more powerful since the rest of the track has been significantly softer. This was a great final piece for the album, for it gave the audience a high level of contrast while being overtly catchy, and it resonates true to Forever Came Calling’s characteristic sound.

Final Thoughts: Overall, I would give this EP a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I am giving this album such a score for a few reasons. The first reason is because this was a strong introduction back to the band, for it provides the audience with just enough musical material to remember why we fell in love with them in the first place, but there is not enough material present, which makes audience members want more. The other reason I landed on this score is because the EP is solid from top to bottom, and each work is catchy in its own way, which will make audience members attach to it quickly. Therefore, if you are looking for something quick and fun to listen to: this is album is it!

*”Retro Future” was released on March 23, 2018 by Forever Came Calling.

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