So Long Forgotten - Things We Can See & Things We Cannot (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

So Long Forgotten

Things We Can See & Things We Cannot (2009)


So Long Forgotten must be flying under the radar hard, because Things We Can See & Things We Cannot is the band's third full-length and there's barely a mention of them on this very website. While it's certainly not because anyone's avoiding them, SLF's LP3 is still a little flawed and confused to warrant any substantial attention.

Things We Can See & Things We Cannot toys with the middle ground between alternative and indie rock and adds progressive elements to try and push it into more interesting territory. Like the bands they sound like, it resembles jaded, former emo kids now treading more brooding and "mature" ground, but in SLF's case, they've unfortunately yet to master it in any capacity.

Opener "A River Flows in the Desert" hints at Circa Survive's ethereal atmospheres but doesn't quite deliver that same level of spectacle; the song actually kinda resembles As Cities Burn's most recent material until 1:45, when it suddenly sounds just like something the Dear Hunter might have cooked up. "Princess Among Provinces" has some equally spacey and nuanced layers but scatters its climaxes about hastily and none of them quite hit hard enough as a result. "Hills Humbled, Mountains Made Low" comes cooked with a soft snarl and southern twang á la Manchester Orchestra.

"Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes" traverses similarly poetic and shaky vocal territory that's nonetheless missing a certain something at first; frontman Micah Boyce transitions too quickly to those more yearning shouts early on. I will say this, however -- when the song suddenly shifts into total Further Seems Forever worship mode (notably How to Start a Fire era), everything happens to coalesce a little better and the element building makes way more sense. Also, like almost all the bands mentioned to this point, there's a definite but vague Christian vibe hinted at but it's not at all overbearing, at least.

The rest of the album doesn't make too much of an impact, whether it be the deliberate, piano-driven and nearly six-minute "Banners Over Us" or the melancholic, almost-grandiose-but-not-quite-there setup of "Hosanna," though the latter's closing "da-da-da-da"s are whistle-along-worthy. The one bright spot is the memorable, uplifting chants of closer "As Waters Cover the Sea," which provides another warm similarity to As Cities Burn's Hell or High Water.

Things We Can See & Things We Cannot often resembles some other great bands but never really provides those otherwise RIYLs' truly compelling moments, or even a passively interesting aggregation of them. And when an album like such crosses the 50-minute mark, it's not helping. It's easy to picture So Long Forgotten making some epic noise in the near future, though, and thus ensuring their moniker isn't merely a harrowing prophecy.