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forgetters - forgetters (Cover Artwork)

forgetters

forgetters: forgettersforgetters (2012)
Too Small to Fail

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

For a guy who used to take a lot of flak from the punx, Schwarzenbach sure has gotten punker with age. Jets to Brazil may have skewed more towards indie rock, but they always stuck with indie label Jade Tree. Thorns of Life flamed out. And forgetters, ever phoenix-like, has managed to stay completel.
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For a guy who used to take a lot of flak from the punx, Schwarzenbach sure has gotten punker with age. Jets to Brazil may have skewed more towards indie rock, but they always stuck with indie label Jade Tree. Thorns of Life flamed out. And forgetters, ever phoenix-like, has managed to stay completely DIY despite having a resume that could make lesser bands blush. forgetters, an unexpected return to form given the band kind of disappeared two years ago, packs all sorts of weird, delightful turns.

The band's self-titled double 7" still had some Jawbreaker-isms; the full-length moves further away from that sound. A couple of songs shoot beyond six minutes. Schwarzenbach and drummer Kevin Mahon [obligatory ex-Against Me! reference] hit some sludgy psychedelic moments, most surprisingly on track two, "Lie Artist." Indeed, stylistically, the record is a little scattered. It starts and ends as a lumbering beast, but the middle packs all sorts of alternate universe singles, particularly dance-punky "Turn Away," "O Deadly Death" and "Hoop and Swan," which recalls some of the catchier elements of the 7". Jets to Brazil's more orchestral brand of indie rock returns in the form of tunes like the piano-tinged "Die By Your Own Hand" and "In America."

Still, the album feels like a deliberate break from the members' past, something that a whole mess of folks might struggle with. This is not pop-punk. Not making it any easier is opening number "Strike." Overall, forgetters is pretty dang cool, and the quiet "Strike" seems like an ideal opener musically, serving as a contrast before "Lie Artist" brings in the noise. But lyrically, it's loaded with clichés ("strike while the iron is hot," "I was raised on the run," etc). One could argue that Schwarzenbach plays with well known phrases throughout forgetters, but as a reintroduction, "Strike" can come off as embarrassing the first few times.

But man does it pick up from there. forgetters skims Schwarzenbach's history, but also draws in elements of psych rock, post-punk and garage rock. In a way, it's a grab bag of styles, but it also keeps the record diverse while Schwarzenbach takes on a variety of topics, from what it means to be American to getting totally goth. J. Robbins hasn't produced a record this raw in a while, but the way he subtly drops in synths and strings without losing any sense of the band proper is commendable. This record is lush compared to the bootlegs that have been kicking around, but it still sounds very much like a live act. Speaking of being a live act, please come back to Philadelphia. Please.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Coldwaffles (December 2, 2012)

total blakeschwarzenboner from this, so good!

wahhey (November 25, 2012)

Ive listened to this about four times and had to force the last 3. I really liked the EP two years ago, and I like half of this but some of it sounds a lot more pretentious and droning. I went back to that Thorns Of Life live recording and gave that another listen and now I am just pissed.

lesfl (November 22, 2012)

gotta admit, i'm pretty into this.

countmattula (November 20, 2012)

While some of the songs lean closer to Blake's previous work, I like how the band is taking things into some of the post-punk direction, while still remaining raw. The fact that this record crosses the genre line, yet seems to flow nicely is a testament that Blake and crew still got it. And with J.Robbins on the boards and (most likely on the bass), this is like a combo of two of my favorite bands that start with Jaw in their names. Lyrically, the album is good, probably not Blake's best lyrics, but 90% better than the majority of shit people listen to these days. My favorite track has to be "Hoop and Swan" which is the most Jawbreaker-esque on the record, tracks like "I'm not Immune" echo with a Morrissey influences, where "Turn Away" crosses the line between early New Order, and Echo and the Bunnymen, except with Richard Butler on the vocals (Blake's post-surgery voice reminds me of Butler's). I'm looking forward to them releasing some of the material I've only heard on their live HIOQI podcast, and youtube videos... still waiting for "Black Art," "Heart Crane Pike" and "Death Trip"... looking forward to more. Come back to the West Coast!

colin (November 20, 2012)

really enjoy this. it's lighter than i expected, but just as pissed off. "i'm not immune" and "ribbonhead," man.

telegraphrocks (November 20, 2012)

What a shocker that this got a 9.

Pfftttt.

wallofyouth (November 20, 2012)

this is funny: Jets to Brazil may have skewed more towards indie rock, but they always stuck with indie label Jade Tree.

indie rock is for sellouts!

teaessare (November 20, 2012)

I don't understand how someone can say there's nothing emo about Jawbreaker. They're a punk band, fur sure, but they get really artsy and have deep introspective lyrics, all the makings of emo. You can't find a single emo band that formed in between 1995 and 2001 that didn't list Jawbreaker as a major influence. It also used to be commonplace to call them emo, but now the punx don't wanna like an emo band, so this argument is started.

Anyways, this album is good.

davebrave4 (November 20, 2012)

This sounds great. Very good review. I think I like the album art, but that could change.

Monostereo (November 20, 2012)

I feel like I am fighting with myself. Mea Culpa.

eatbicycles (November 20, 2012)

Early 1990's emo is different than modern mall emo or whatever and everybody knows that and knows that it's annoying that they use the same word. But we all also know the Guy Picciotto quote: "I've never recognized 'emo' as a genre of music. I always thought it was the most retarded term ever. I know there is this generic commonplace that every band that gets labeled with that term hates it. They feel scandalized by it. But honestly, I just thought that all the bands I played in were punk rock bands. The reason I think it's so stupid is that - what, like the Bad Brains weren't emotional? What - they were robots or something? It just doesn't make any sense to me."

What I'm saying is that it's no big whoop to revelate that band isn't emo because that's been a given for 30 years. Low standards if one is taking the word emo with any value whatsoever.

baldsteve (November 20, 2012)

The only way I could see somebody making that (emo) comparison is if they quit after making Bivouac. That album especially the titular track could be used to make that case against them.
I'm not defending the charges, just saying...

Monostereo (November 20, 2012)

First line of wikipedia page:

Jawbreaker was an American punk rock band active from 1986 to 1996 and considered one of the most influential acts of the early-1990s emo movement.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jawbreaker_(band)

Th ey are still referred to incorrectly as emo all the time.

eatbicycles (November 20, 2012)

All you have to do know Jawbreaker isn't emo is read the wikipedia page. You made a lazy comment and it was worth complicating.

Monostereo (November 20, 2012)

Jeez man. I was just happy the guy didn't call it emo. I agree with you. Save the dissertation for pitchfork tryouts.

eatbicycles (November 20, 2012)

"knows Jawbreaker was, and should always be considered, a pop-punk band"

Why you gotta start shit? That's way too general of a statement. Unfun is definitely a document of a pop-punk band. 24HRT to an extent, as well. But they're not as linear of a band as it is sometimes assumed. Whack and Bite EP, their earliest, is very hardcore, DCish. Bivouac is unlike anything else, art rock and hardcore. Then Dear You is totally a pop/hard-rock record. It's given that they're not "emo" and "emo" is a useless term, but they were way to expansive to be considered strictly a pop-punk band. IMO.

Forgetters is different. That's why we're here. Some of Bivouac and "Condition Oakland" and "Eye-5" are in forgetters--the sampling. Blake does it better than anybody. Really uninhibited album.

Blackjaw_ (November 20, 2012)

Cool album, but I don't think I'll ever like Blake's vocals.

Monostereo (November 20, 2012)

I like this record a lot. Nice review. Extra props for the "This is not pop punk." reference. If I see one more reference to Jawbreaker as being emo, not sure what I might do, but it will be bad. Proves the reviewer knows his stuff--knows Jawbreaker was, and should always be considered, a pop-punk band. forgetters are most definitely not pop punk.

baldsteve (November 20, 2012)

I just hope they keep moving. I want to see where this train can go.

Haanz (November 20, 2012)

I've only given this two listens so far, but I've gotta say I'm really liking it. As with just about everything Blake has ever touched, I don't really feel qualified to criticise anything until I'm 100% comfortable with the album.

eatbicycles (November 20, 2012)

Sounds a lot like J Robbins while still being totally Schwrznbchian. McMahon does 14 kickass things on each song. Brilliant record. "In America" is the cheesy song, not "Strike." Human League cover is amazing. Forgetters, Franz Nicolay, and Hop Along made the real albums this year. Signs ☮ the Times.

milkplus (November 20, 2012)

@leecorsoisapenis ha, that's funny cause at times Perfecting Loneliness is possibly my favourite of the 3 JTB records.well, and then i hear Chinatown and start to doubt myself.

I'm glad i'm not the only one that's getting that vibe off of this record though. definitely not what i was expecting after the double 7" and the stuff they recorded live on the radio but still i'm really liking what i'm hearing.

leecorsoisapenis (November 20, 2012)

Milkplus, that is exactly what I thought. Perfecting Loneliness was such a letdown. This reminds me a lot of that album, except, you know, good.

1776 (November 20, 2012)

I love Jets and Jawbreaker and am glad Blake's performing again, but this isn't his best. It tends to drone, the vocals sound derivative (admittedly of bands inspired by Jawbreaker like Alk3), and everything considered, it sounds more like a private art project than a piece of compelling public art.

1776 (November 20, 2012)

I love Jets and Jawbreaker and am glad Blake's performing again, but this isn't his best. It tends to drone, the vocals sound derivative (admittedly of bands inspired by Jawbreaker like Alk3), and everything considered, it sounds more like a private art project than a piece of compelling public art.

milkplus (November 20, 2012)

totally digging this, it seems like a stripped down version of what Blake was getting at on Perfecting Loneliness. and that random calypso-esque bit in Strike is fucking genius.

stevebombedout (November 20, 2012)

Found the 7" to be hit or miss but they played a blinder of a gig in Leeds last year that made me really start to to get excited about a possible full length. Going on this review it sounds like it's going to be an interesting listen...

jimmynorville (November 20, 2012)

There's some good stuff on here, but the three songs from their radio show that aren't on this are better than most of these songs. I guess I'm just being negative.

wallofyouth (November 20, 2012)

haven't heard this yet but it can't help but end up second to the classics of love record in the 2012 "old dude who made awesome old records fronts new band and makes incredibly awesome new record with crappy oil painting on the cover" category

kylewagoner (November 20, 2012)

Gettin' this for Christmas, but glad to see a good review on it.

MN_DrNick (November 20, 2012)

Love this album a lot. It's the middle ground between Jawbreaker and Jets To Brazil.

Dante3000 (November 20, 2012)

I'm trying to gauge the love it/hate it split. I'm guessing 65/35. Over/under?

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