The Forms - Derealization (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Forms

Derealization (2011)


Although you can try listening to something with as little bias as possible, sometimes that backfires. Upon inserting the Forms' Derealization EP into my CD player, the first track "Fire to the Ground" began playing and all I could think was, "Wow, these guys have been listening to a fuckload of the National." As it turns out, that's because it really is Matt Berninger (of the National) singing lead on the track. The warm, mid-fi production on it even makes it sound like it could have came straight from the sessions for the National's 2005 effort, Alligator. So after some minimal research, it appeared that Derealization is actually an EP of past songs broken down and reconstructed here by the Forms, with sporadic guest vocalists. Makes sense. (I'm really only familiar with the band's self-titled 2007 album.)

Perhaps due to both my fervent bias for the National and an insistent central hook, "Fire to the Ground" is the key standout here. Again, if you dig Alligator (warm, slower-paced, wistful indie rock with a very mellow orchestral tilt), this song should be up your alley.

The other tracks aren't half-bad, though. "Same Path Mantra" is in the same boat as the opener, with another catchy hook, except it's driven by lively piano playing and nimble vocals. Shudder to Think's Craig Wedren gets in on "Finally", which is an okay-ish cut in the general vein of the EP, though with some more sedated Flaming Lips twists and turns. A title track closer adopts some of the previous tracks' wandering vocal melodies into a quietly busy (or busily quiet?), almost post-rock-ish indie pop jam.

Definitely not a bad effort by any means, and a very, very linear listen. The Forms probably don't blow away the old versions with these subtly dizzying reduxes, but they're relatively interesting conceptions all the same.

Derealization EP