Falling Forward - Hand Me Down (Cover Artwork)

Falling Forward

Hand Me Down (1994)


Everyone knows Elliott, the recently deceased post-hardcore/emo band from Louisville. Chris Higdon's soft, smooth voice was instantly recognizable and lent itself very well to the mellow, almost atmospheric music. But behind the cuddly sound of Elliott lay sometime akin to a certain Bruce Banner's condition. Chris Higdon had the potential to explode into THE INCREDIBLE HULK OF EMO and/or INDIE ROCK! Well, not really, but in years prior to Elliott, Higdon sang in Falling Forward, with a sound that was not quite as sugary sweet as Elliott's. These ten songs make up the band's only full album, but they give us a look at a younger, angrier Chris Higdon.

Falling Forward was one of the forerunners in the mid-nineties development of post-hardcore, or emo, or whatever you want to call it. However, unlike what passes as emo today, Falling Forward took the elements of the early pioneers such as Rites of Spring, and expanded on them with their own ideas, resulting in something that is at times punk, at times reminiscent of hardcore, and at times even sounds proto-Elliott. What we have here is the soft/loud juxtapose, the thrashy, powerful, yet melodic guitar playing, and the gut wrenching honesty sung in both quiet whispers and aggravated screaming. Take "Sire", for instance. It starts with a soft melody of an intro and quiet singing over the music, but with each passing verse, the music gets darker, edgier, and Higdon goes from singing to yelling, and the song just explodes with energy.

Looking over the lyrics, we have beautifully written songs about betrayal, worth, and hurt. Higdon uses simple yet powerful words to express his inner feelings. Unlike Elliott though, which features more uplifting, positive lyrics, Falling Forward tends to lean more towards negative embitterment. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. He's been hurt, and he is pissed off about it. He is angry, but luckily we avoid the whole "I'll kill you bitch" motif that some newer bands seem to have adopted.

In the end, though not perfect, Falling Forward's only full length album is a great album, showcasing both Chris Higdon's pre-Elliott creative output and bringing us back to a time when emo didn't just refer to watered down false emotion prevalent in today's hot bands that all the kids are going gaga over. You know who you are.